If you’re feeling stressed, a whiff of your romantic partner’s shirt may help you feel more relaxed, a new study shows.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) found that smelling a romantic partner’s clothing was associated with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in women’s blood, according to the study, published Jan. 3 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
“Many people wear their partner’s shirt or sleep on their partner’s side of the bed when their partner is away, but may not realize why they engage in these behaviors,” lead study author Marlise Hofer, a graduate student in the UBC Department of Psychology, said in a statement. “Our findings suggest that a partner’s scent alone, even without their physical presence, can be a powerful tool to help reduce stress.” [11 Tips to Lower Stress]
The researchers included 96 opposite-sex couples in the study. The men were asked to wear T-shirts for 24 hours, without wearing any deodorant or scented body products. They were also asked to not smoke and to eat only foods that wouldn’t affect their body scent. After the T-shirts had been worn for a day, they were frozen to preserve their smells.
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