How long should you stay in a sauna, anyway?

If you’re looking for ways to relax and rewind (perhaps you can add essential oils to the equation) after a long week, you certainly can’t go wrong with going to the sauna. Saunas are an incredibly effective way to naturally cleanse and sweat out some stress. The dry heat works by loosening tired muscles and detoxifying the skin. However, you wouldn’t want to spend too much time in a sauna either. High heat and low humidity can take a toll on your body which may even result in light-headedness.

So how long is too long in a sauna?

Here are a couple of things you should know before stepping into a sauna.

How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna

How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna?

This time period typically depends on how often you sauna and of course, how comfortable you are with heat. For instance, beginners might have a low tolerance for heat and might need to cool off sooner than most people.

In this case, we recommend you limit your sauna sessions to about 10 minutes. Take breaks in between to cool off at the pool or have a quick shower. You can resume with another 10-minute session afterward.

On the other hand, experienced sauna users can spend a total of about 30 to 45 minutes in a sauna with 2 or 3 sessions and breaks in between.

How Does a Sauna Work?

Since a sauna functions using high temperatures (typically ranging 80 – 120 Celsius), the body sweats profusely as a way to cool down. If you were working out prior your sauna session, chances are that you will dehydrate much quickly. Excessive sweating not only causes dehydrates but also dilates your blood vessels causing blood pressure to drop.

After a while, you’ll notice that your body is not able to cool itself properly, causing internal temperature to rise.

The Importance of Being in Good Health to Use a Sauna

While saunas are considered safe for most people, some might have to take extra precautionary measures. For instance, it’s probably a good idea to seek your doctor’s advice if you suffer from a medical condition or are taking medication. You might have to reconsider using a sauna in the following cases:

  • Poor blood pressure or heart problems
  • High-risk medical conditions such as liver failure, kidney failure etc.
  • If you’re ill or are highly susceptible to heat stroke or heat exhaustion
  • You’re on meds that prevent sweating (this may cause the body to overheat quickly)

Finding the Right Temperature

Everybody has a different tolerance or comfort level when it comes to heat. If you’re lucky enough to visit a sauna with multiple bench levels, adjust the temperature to your suiting. Smaller saunas typically only offer one level, ensuring the heat evenly spreads throughout the room. In this case, be sure to time your sessions accordingly and see what works best for you. This typically helps people determine how long should you stay in a sauna.

Building Your Tolerance to Heat

If you’re a beginner, slowly build up your pace. Start with a shower and then relax on a bench in the sauna for a couple of minutes. There aren’t many strict rules to follow hence do what’s most comfortable for you. If necessary, step out and allow yourself to cool off for a couple of minutes.

You may return back to the sauna in a few minutes when you’re ready. What’s important is that you pay attention to how you’re feeling. You may want to keep your session short during your first time and that’s perfectly fine.

Staying Hydrated

Because of the nature of saunas, drink plenty of water in regular intervals before and after your session. Excessive sweating can cause the body to become dehydrated leading to electrolyte imbalance. All in all, make sure to keep yourself hydrated throughout.

Signs You Need to Get Out of the Sauna

As we’ve mentioned before, tolerance to heat will differ from person to person. It usually depends on how hydrated you are and your familiarity with saunas. However, here are a few indicators or warning signs you need to watch out for during your sauna session:

  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Tiredness/ sleepiness
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing or chest pains
  • Claustrophobia
  • Nausea

If you experience any of the above, exist the sauna immediately and allow yourself to cool off for a couple of minutes.

Maximum Time for Staying in a Sauna

A half hour is usually the recommended time for staying in the sauna. However, as mentioned above, there aren’t any specific rules for you to follow hence feel free to stay a bit longer if you want. People who are better adapted to using a sauna may prefer to stay for 30 to 40 minutes. Because of this, everyone’s answer to How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna may differ.

Health Hazards for Using a Sauna for Too Long

The truth is, there aren’t many health risks of using a sauna so long as you’re perfectly healthy and don’t suffer from a chronic illness. Contrary to what some people might believe, the high temperature of a sauna won’t cause burns because of low humidity. And while using a sauna might cause your heartbeat to race, it won’t result in any harmful side effects. In fact, there are many health benefits of using a sauna.

A low humid environment is also unlikely to affect your overall health either. In fact, people who suffer from asthma or have dry skin experience temporary relief from their conditions while using a sauna.

Wrapping it Up: How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna

Overall, we recommend you spend 30 minutes in a sauna – 15 minutes tops if you’re a newbie or are feeling a little queasy.

Is there something you’d like to add? Tell us about it in the comments section below.