Sniffing your partner’s sweaty clothes can reduce stress levels, a study has recently observed. As per a study published in Birmingham Live, the smell of an individual’s partner’s sweat can prove to be therapeutic. However, someone else’s sweat may have an adverse effect on the individual.
The findings showed that women feel calmer after being exposed to their male partner’s scent, lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
The sample size of the study included 96 opposite-sex couples. While carrying out the study, men were given a clean T-shirt to wear for 24 hours and were told not to use deodorants or scented body products. They were also barred from smoking and eating certain foods that could affect their scent.
As part of the research, the men’s T-shirts were frozen to preserve the smell of their clothes. The women were given a T-shirt to smell that was either fresh or had been worn by their partner or a stranger, without informing them which shirt had an odour and which did not.
A stress test was then carried out in which a mock job interview and a mental maths task were given. The women answered questions about their stress levels and provided saliva samples to measure cortisol levels.
The women were asked to be the “smellers” as they tend to have a better sense of smell than men. At the end of the study, it was concluded that women who had smelled their partner’s shirt felt less stressed both before and after the stress test. Women who smelled their partner’s shirt and correctly identified the scent were also detected with lower levels of cortisol.