How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna? [Wellness Guide]

how long should you stay in a sauna

Staying in a sauna for the correct amount of time is vital to reap its benefits and minimize risks, something both first-time and experienced users should consider.

As saunas offer numerous health benefits, it’s essential to understand the appropriate time limit for each session to maximize these advantages while minimizing potential risks.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the factors influencing the recommended sauna time limit, including individual tolerance levels and types of saunas.

We’ll also discuss the potential dangers of prolonged exposure to extreme heat and provide tips on enjoying your sauna sessions safely.

Finally, for those who may not find traditional or infrared saunas suitable, we will introduce some alternatives that can still provide similar relaxation and wellness benefits.

So let’s dive into understanding how long should you stay in a sauna for an optimal experience!

Sauna Time Limit

sauna time limit

Although saunas provide health benefits, keeping track of the time you spend inside is crucial.

How long you can safely spend in a sauna depends on your heat tolerance and the type of sauna you use.

First-time Sauna Users

I recommend a shorter sauna session of around 5-10 minutes for first-time users.

This will allow you to adjust to the extreme heat gradually.

After the first session, the time can slowly increase to 15-20 minutes.

Experienced Sauna Users

If you’re experienced, you can increase your sauna time limit to 30-40 minutes. 

However, listening to your body and not pushing yourself beyond your limits is essential. 

If you feel light in the head or dizzy, it’s time to exit the sauna immediately.

Frequent Sauna Users

Limiting your sauna time to 20-30 minutes per session is recommended for those who frequent sauna sessions.

And It’s also important to take breaks between sessions to prevent dehydration and allow your body to cool down.

Sauna Types

sauna types

Various saunas are available, including traditional, infrared, and outdoor saunas.

Each type of sauna bath offers unique benefits and considerations.

Traditional Sauna

A traditional sauna uses rocks to produce heat, creating a hot sauna bath. 

You typically find these saunas in gyms, spas, and health clubs.

They offer a relaxing experience and are great for improving cardiovascular health and promoting relaxation.

Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas use infrared heaters to throw out infrared light, which is soaked up by the skin and produces heat.

These saunas are known for their ability to penetrate deeper into the skin, promoting detoxification and improving skin health.

Outdoor Sauna

Outdoor saunas are typically made of wood and are designed to be used in outdoor settings.

They offer a unique sauna experience and are great for those who enjoy regular sauna bathing and spending time in nature.

Sauna Safety Tips

sauna safety

While saunas are generally safe, taking precautions to prevent dehydration and other risks associated with extreme heat is essential.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water before and after sauna use is essential to prevent dehydrating. Avoid liquor and caffeine, which can dehydrate you.

Take Cool Showers

After a sauna session, take a cool shower to help cool down the body and prevent overheating.

Know Your Limits

If you start feeling lightheaded or dizzy, exit the sauna right away. 

Restricting your time spent in the sauna is crucial, particularly if it’s your first time.

Consider Alternatives

If you can’t tolerate the extreme heat of a sauna, consider using a steam room instead.

Steam rooms offer similar health benefits and are typically less hot than saunas.

key takeaway

Using a sauna regularly can have various health benefits, such as improving cardiovascular health, aiding muscle recovery, reducing stress and enhancing mental well-being, detoxifying the body, and promoting healthier skin. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to be mindful of the time spent in a sauna since the suggested duration limit varies depending on your experience level. Sauna safety tips include staying hydrated, taking cool showers after sessions, and knowing your limits.

How Long to Stay in a Sauna

steam sauna

Understanding the recommended duration for sauna sessions is crucial to maximizing their health benefits while minimizing potential risks.

The optimal time to spend in a sauna depends on your familiarity, resistance, and personal tastes.

Finnish Sauna Guidelines

In Finland, where saunas have been integral to the culture for centuries, guidelines suggest spending 5-20 minutes per session inside the hot room.

This can be followed by a cool-down period outside or in a cooler area before re-entering.

Repeating this cycle two or three times during one visit is common practice.

Recommendations for First-Time Sauna Use

  • Start with shorter sessions: If you’re a newbie to sauna bathing, it’s best you start with shorter sessions of around 5-10 minutes and slowly increase your time as you get more comfortable with the excessive heat.

  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to how you feel during your sauna session and exit when necessary – don’t push yourself beyond what feels comfortable.

  • Stay hydrated: Ensure you consume plenty of water before entering the sauna and continue hydrating throughout your visit.

Recommendations for Regular and Experienced Users

You can tolerate more extended sessions if you’re a frequent sauna user or have experience with saunas.

However, taking precautions to prevent dehydrating and other risks is still essential.

  • Gradually increase session length: Work your way up to longer sessions, allowing your body to adjust and acclimate.

  • Monitor heart rate: Monitor your heart rate during extended sauna use. If you notice any irregularities or discomfort, exit the sauna immediately.

  • Take cool-down breaks: Ensure you take regular intervals from the heat to cool down and rehydrate.

key takeaway

To maximize the health benefits of a sauna while minimizing risks, it’s crucial to understand how long you should stay in one. Guidelines suggest spending 5-20 minutes per session inside the hot room and gradually increasing your time as you become more comfortable, taking breaks to cool down and rehydrate. It’s crucial to listen to your body and exit when necessary, staying hydrated throughout your visit.

Risks of Prolonged Sauna Use For Specific People

sauna risks

While sauna exposure may provide health advantages, it’s essential to be conscious of the potential dangers associated with prolonged periods.

Excessive heat can lead to dehydration, overheating, and other severe health concerns. Therefore, individuals more vulnerable to heat stress should take precautions when using saunas.

  • Pregnant Women: Pregnant women should consult with their healthcare provider before sauna bathing because the developing fetus can be harmed by excessive heat.

  • Elderly Individuals: Older adults may have difficulty regulating body temperature and are more susceptible to dehydration. They should monitor their time in saunas closely and drink plenty of water.

  • Individuals with Medical Conditions: It’s crucial to seek advice from your physician before using a sauna if you have heart disease or respiratory problems. The increased heat and humidity might exacerbate symptoms or cause complications.

Tips for Safe Sauna Use

sauna tips

Enjoying the benefits of a sauna session requires taking the necessary precautions to ensure your well-being.

  • Hydrate before and after: Drinking water before entering the sauna will help prepare your body for the heat. Rehydrating afterward replenishes fluids lost through sweating. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking about two glasses of water before using a sauna.

  • Avoid alcohol or medications that affect blood pressure: Drinking alcohol or taking certain medicines before a sauna session can raise the chances of dehydration, dizziness, and other issues. Before using a sauna, you must check with your doctor if you take any medications that may affect its safety.

  • Dress appropriately: Lightweight clothing or bathing suits are ideal for using a traditional steam-based sauna. In an infrared sauna, loose-fitting cotton clothes can help absorb sweat without restricting airflow around your skin.

  • Sit comfortably at lower temperatures first: If you’re new to saunas or sensitive to heat, start by sitting in areas with lower temps (usually found closer to the floor) until you feel comfortable enough gradually move up toward higher temperature zones within the room.

  • Pace yourself and be attentive to your body: The recommended duration varies depending on individual tolerance levels; Harvard Health suggests starting with 10-15-minute sessions and gradually increasing to a maximum of 20-30 minutes. If you start to feel off, exit quickly.

  • Cool down: After leaving the sauna, give your body time to cool down by sitting in a cooler area for several minutes before taking a cold shower or plunging into an ice bath. This helps regulate your body temperature and prevent potential health risks associated with rapid cooling.

In addition to these tips, always follow posted guidelines at public saunas and consult with medical professionals if you have pre-existing conditions that may affect your ability to use a sauna safely.

key takeaway

To safely use a sauna, it’s essential to hydrate before and after, avoid alcohol or medications that affect blood pressure, dress appropriately, sit comfortably at lower temperatures first, pace yourself, and listen to your body by gradually increasing the duration of sessions up to 20-30 minutes. Cooling down after leaving the sauna is also crucial in regulating body temperature and preventing potential health risks associated with rapid cooling.

Alternatives to Sauna Use

dry brushing

Numerous alternative methods are available for those seeking to attain the health benefits of saunas.

These options can provide relaxation, detoxification, and improved circulation without a traditional sauna.

Steam Rooms

Steam rooms offer high humidity and moist heat, which can help open up your airways and improve respiratory function.

Steam rooms also promote sweating and detoxification while relieving inflammation and muscle soreness.

Infrared Sauna

An infrared sauna uses infrared light to generate heat directly on your body rather than heating the surrounding air like a traditional sauna.

This type of sauna is typically more energy-efficient and allows users to experience therapeutic effects at lower temperatures.

Dry Brushing

Dry brushing entails using a natural bristle brush to gently exfoliate your skin in circular movements before showering or bathing.

This practice stimulates blood flow, encourages lymphatic drainage, and helps remove dead skin cells for smoother skin.

Epsom Salt Baths

Taking an Epsom salt bath can help comfort sore muscles, reduce inflammation, and promote relaxation due to the magnesium content in Epsom salts.

Add a cup or 2 of Epsom salt to your bath and bathe for 15-20 minutes.

Hot Yoga

Practicing yoga in a heated area, between 90°F and 105°F (32°C – 40°C), can induce perspiration while enhancing suppleness, strength, and equilibrium.

Hot yoga classes often include various poses that promote relaxation and stress relief.

Incorporating these alternatives into your wellness routine can provide similar benefits as traditional saunas without needing access to a sauna facility.

key takeaway

If you’re not a fan of traditional saunas, several alternatives can provide relaxation, detoxification, and improved circulation. These include steam rooms, infrared saunas, dry brushing, Epsom salt baths, and hot yoga. Incorporating these into your wellness routine can offer similar benefits without needing access to a sauna facility.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should a Person Stay in a Sauna?

A typical session in a sauna should last between 15 to 20 minutes.

However, beginners may start with shorter sessions of around 5 to 10 minutes and gradually increase the time span as they become more accustomed to the heat.

How Long Should You Stay in the Sauna and How Hot?

Experts suggest spending 15-20 minutes inside a sauna set between 150°F to 195°F.

The optimal temperature varies depending on individual preferences and tolerance levels.

Is It OK to Sauna Every Day?

Daily sauna use can be safe for healthy individuals, but moderation is key.

It’s essential to listen to your body, hydrate properly, and avoid overexposure.

Ask your doctor before using saunas every day, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.

Is Sauna Good for Losing Belly Fat?

While a sauna can help burn calories due to its increased heart rate effect, it’s not explicitly targeted toward losing belly fat.

A combination of regular exercise and proper nutrition are more effective strategies for reducing abdominal fat than relying solely on saunas.

Stick To A Time Limit To Maximize the Health Benefits

Overall, sauna use can provide numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular function and reduced stress levels.

It’s important to be cautious of how long you stay in a sauna to prevent potential risks such as dehydration or overheating.

Experts recommend spending only 15-20 minutes at a time in a sauna and to take breaks between your sessions.

To ensure safe sauna use, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water before and after each session and listening to your body if you start feeling lightheaded or dizzy is essential.

If you want to learn more about improving your overall health and wellness beyond just using a sauna, check out Yvonne’s Guide for helpful tips and resources!

Medical Disclaimer

Content on this blog is meant for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as medical advice from medical doctors or registered dietitians, as we are not qualified to provide such advice. It should not be used to prevent, diagnose, or treat any medical condition. It’s important to talk to a doctor before beginning a new exercise plan, taking supplements, or making any other changes that could impact your medications, treatment, or health. Please note that the information provided on is based on personal experience and research, and we cannot be held responsible for how you choose to use it.

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