Your Partner's Smell Can Relax You

When your partner isn't around, you probably like to have a piece of their clothing around you, especially at night. In fact, science suggests that the smell of a loved one can help you fall asleep faster.
Your Partner's Smell Can Relax You
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

When you smell your loved one’s T-shirt, jacket, or another garment, you feel they’re closer to you. It makes you remember them and your shared feelings and experiences. It’s not a fetish, it’s just something that gives you pleasure. Furthermore, this has now been endorsed by science. A recent study suggests that your partner’s smell has a relaxing effect on your brain. In fact, it can even help you fall asleep.

Therefore, when you can’t be with your partner, it’s a good idea to have a sweater or a T-shirt of theirs close by. This way, you can feel close to them, even though they might be far away. Your senses will be comforted by the unmistakable scent of that special person you share your life with.

However, this doesn’t just improve your sense of well-being. In fact, you’ll experience more deep and restful sleep. That’s because the chemistry of love uses the language of scent, those invisible particles that make up a shared magical spell between lovers.

A man inhaling the smell of his partner.

Your partner’s smell improves your sleep

Do you love your partner because of how they are or because of how they smell? This might seem like a strange question, but it’s actually relevant. Smell is an important component in attraction. In fact, it even plays a role in sexual attraction. The chemical signals your partner gives off are a powerful and indispensable form of communication.

Every person has their own unique smell. This is due to the pheromones that are secreted by the apocrine glands. These signals reach the olfactory receptors in your brain, activating specific emotions. However, not everyone’s scent will have the same effect on you.

Your partner has a unique smell and your brain recognizes your attachment to them and your need to be close to them. This is a well-known fact.

Don’t count sheep, just keep your partner’s T-shirt nearby

Do you have trouble sleeping when your partner’s not around? If so, don’t count sheep or take sleeping pills. According to a recent study published in the journal Psychological Science, putting your partner’s T-shirt on your pillow can help you get a good night’s sleep.

Dr. Marlise Hofer of the University of British Columbia conducted a study with couples. It involved asking one of the partners to wear a T-shirt for 24 hours, avoiding deodorants and perfumes. Later, the other partner was offered two pillows to sleep on. One had the smell of their partner’s T-shirt and the other a stranger’s scent.

They then had to sleep two nights in a row, one night with one pillow and the other with the other. The results were both significant and revealing. When the participants slept with their partner’s T-shirts, they enjoyed deeper and more restful sleep.

The authors of the study concluded that your partner’s smell has a relaxing effect. In fact, it’s as effective as if you were to take sleeping tablets that contain melatonin.

A woman hugging a pillow.

Love and sense of smell are related to each other. In fact, attraction and the olfactory sense form an undisputed bond. It’s present in every caress, desire, and thought you have of your loved one. Furthermore, when you’re away from the one you love, you miss their smell.

What you miss is their own particular smell, which is particularly captivating to you. Some studies confirm this significant relationship. In fact, the Dresden University of Technology conducted studies and discovered that people with no sense of smell are less secure and have greater problems building romantic relationships.

For this reason, your partner’s smell is just one more prism in the kaleidoscope we recognize as love and attraction. It’s an invisible language that transcends from your skin to the depths of your brain, delighting you and boosting your feelings of well-being, balance, and happiness.

When you’re far away from your loved one, you can still feel close to them by keeping one of their T-shirts on your pillow. You could actually sleep in one of their T-shirts for an even more comforting and pleasant experience!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Croy I, Bojanowski V, Hummel T. Men without a sense of smell exhibit a strongly reduced number of sexual relationships, women exhibit reduced partnership security – a reanalysis of previously published data. Biol Psychol. 2013 Feb;92(2):292-4. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.11.008. Epub 2012 Nov 22. PMID: 23178326.
  • Hofer, Marlise (2020) The Scent of a Good Night’s Sleep: Olfactory Cues of a Romantic Partner Improve Sleep Efficiency. Psychological Science.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.