I don’t know if you guys have similar experiences like me: I’m sensitive to scent, no matter it’s from foods, perfume, a certain environment, or people.
When I was young, the scent of “home” always made me feel safe. When I arrive home after a short trip, I recognize the scent of my husband immediately, and feel pleased about it. I read a ghost story when I was eating a special snack in high school, and I thought about the ghost story every time I had that snack ever since then.
I have always been wondering what links scents and different kinds of senses, and a recent study may answer part of my question.
The scent from a romantic partner can improve sleep. That’s what psychology researchers discovered. They found that participants who were exposed to their partner’s scent overnight experienced better sleep quality, even though their partner was not physically present.
155 people were involved in the study. They were given two identical-looking t-shirts to use as pillowcases. One had been previously worn by their romantic partner for 24 hours without using any scented body products, smoking or eating strong-scented foods. The other had either been previously worn by a stranger or was clean.
You can guess the result – those who slept on the pillowcase worn by their romantic partners showed better sleep qualities.
"One of the most surprising findings is how a romantic partner's scent can improve sleep quality even outside of our conscious awareness," said Frances Chen, the study's senior author. "The sleep watch data showed that participants experienced less tossing and turning when exposed to their partners' scent, even if they weren't aware of whose scent they were smelling."
The researchers are planning to investigate whether the scent of parents can improve their infant's sleep quality. I guess the result is positive, like the sense of safety my mother’s scent gave me.