Even scientists agree, spending time with your best friend is good for your health.
The study that shows this was done by Northwestern University. The researchers took a group of 50 elderly people, and broke distinguished them based on whether they were “SuperAgers” or cognitively average-for-age. The “SuperAgers” were determined by being over 80 and having “episodic memory and impressive cognitive awareness.” Researchers determined that the thing that distinguished SuperAgers from their average peers was that they reported that they have more “satisfying, warm, trusting relationships.”
If you’re anything like me, this is really, really good news. I spend a lot of time with my best friend. In fact, I share a room with her, so even when I’m sleeping, I’m still clocking in hours. (@Science, does that count?) But, up until now, I definitely didn’t think my health was benefiting much from all that time.
I mean, our friendship definitely isn’t built around healthy decisions. Once we walked over a mile in below freezing weather just to see if find out if there was anywhere to buy cake within walking distance of our dorm. Another time, after a long lake day, we were sitting in my parents’ basement in the middle of the night when we realized we were craving ice cream, so got up and drove fifteen minutes to a 24-hour grocery store, still wearing sweatpants and gross swimsuits from that morning. Plus, the vast majority of the time we see each other, we really should be sleeping. More often than not, we both come back from studying at 2 am, and instead of sleeping, we start talking and laughing and waking up all of our other roommates. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have her to make me laugh every single day, but I do know that I would probably start getting adequate sleep.
As it turns out, though, our bodies are on our side. They don’t hold grudges against us for not getting enough sleep on a school night or for one midnight Ben & Jerry’s run. Our bodies want us to be the best we can be, and healthy eating and enough sleep is a part of that, but it turns out that our bodies understand that spending time with your best friend is a part of that too.
According to Bustle, this information is no surprise. In another study, researchers at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill determined that friendship might be as important to health as diet and exercise. A study in Australia determined that seniors with large friend groups were 22 percent more likely to survive.
Instinctively, we already knew that spending time with our best friends was important to our well-being, but it’s nice to know that science confirms it. Take a minute to hug your best friend today, and thank her not just for the laughter and shoulder to cry on, but for improving your physical health as well! My best friend and I have always said we’re going to grow up to be grannies together and live on a beach house with a porch swing and five golden retrievers. Now I’m confident that we won’t just be average grannies — we’ll be SuperAgers together.