The partner is good for our sleep: in fact, being able to smell (unconsciously) the smell of our he or she reconciles sleep, is associated with a less disturbed rest in which we turn and turn less in bed, sleep is more deep and efficient, and on average you sleep 9 minutes more per night.
This was revealed by a study just published in the journal Psychological Science by Marlise Hofer and Frances Chen of the University of British Columbia in Canada.
While another study published in late June in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry and conducted at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel, Germany, found that by sleeping together, the partners synchronize the sleep phases and have a REM phase (the one in which dreaming, important for various aspects of brain functioning) more regular and lasting.
“We know that intimate contact with the person we love has positive effects on our health (it promotes stress reduction, improves sleep etc) – says Hofer -. We were interested in understanding how the partner has these beneficial effects on health and if in particular his smell alone could have similar benefits “. So psychologists involved 115 long-running couples in their sleep experiment and used several white cotton T-shirts all identical to each other. One of them made one of each couple’s partners wear it for 24 hours, asking him not to spray himself with perfumes or deodorants and to avoid too vigorous physical activities; while the others either made them wear to strangers or simply nobody.
For 4 nights each partner was able to sleep with one of the T-shirts on the pillow, without being aware of the origin and therefore if it had been worn or not by someone and by whom. People had to wear an ‘actimeter’, a wrist instrument that records every moment of sleep by measuring essential parameters such as depth, the alternation of the different phases, etc. Well, it emerged that only when each volunteer slept with their partner’s shirt did they rest better, slept an average of 9 minutes more per night, and the actimeter recorded more efficient and restful sleep.
“The effect we observed in our study – underlines Hofer – is similar in size to that produced by the sleep hormone supplements, melatonin, a very used aid for sleeping. The results suggest that the smell of the person we love can significantly affect our health. ”
The German experts, however, involved 14 couples inviting them to sleep in the sleep laboratory and recording every aspect of their sleep simultaneously with two “polysomnographers”. It has emerged that when the partners sleep together, the REM phase of each is longer and less fragmented and all the sleep phases enter into synchrony, in short, the two partners tend to switch simultaneously from light sleep to real sleep, to deep and to the REM phase cyclically during the night.