If you’re used to spending the night alongside your lover but they can’t be there, getting a good night’s sleep can be tough.
But a new study is showing a simple sniff of your special someone’s shirt can send you into slumber. In fact, your lover’s scent just might work as well as melatonin, the most commonly-used sleep supplement.
Research published in Psychological Science showed that when participants slept on a pillow covered with their lover’s t-shirt, they slept better than without it. The results indicated the same improvement in sleep quality typically found when using melatonin.
One hundred and fifty-five participants were given two t-shirts to use as pillowcases. One had been worn by their lover, while the other was either clean or worn by a stranger. Lovers were told not to do anything that would alter their natural odor, like smoke or exercise.
The t-shirts were then frozen to preserve the scent. Each participant spent two nights with each shirt and had sleep assessed through questioning and sleep monitors. Participants claimed they slept better with their lover’s scent and it was backed up by the monitor data.
So, next time your lover is having a late night with friends or out of town visiting a family member and you’re having a hard time falling asleep, snuggle one of their shirts and you might have a better sleep.
What’s particularly interesting about this study is that participants experienced better-quality sleep, not just longer. This indicates subconscious factors play a role and may help put your mind at wise naturally so you wake up feeling more refreshed.
Of course, you don’t need to have a lover—or their shirt—to get better sleep. Good sleep hygiene and creating a relaxing bedtime routine can also help you sleep longer and better.