How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna? (For Optimal Health)

How long should you stay in a sauna? Great question!

Sauna timing is crucial.

You want to get all the health perks – like detoxification, circulation boosts, and stress relief. But… stay too long and you risk dehydration, nausea, and dizziness. 

Well, you’ve come to the right place. After finding my sauna sweet spot, I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned.

I’ll give you specific tips on how long to stay based on things like your fitness level, the temperature, and how humid it is.

With all those key factors covered, you’ll know the perfect sauna session length to meet your goals. Whether you’re aiming for relaxation, detox, weight loss, or just better health, I’ve got you covered!

Let’s get started and determine the ideal sauna time for YOUR body!

Key Takeaways

  • Start with shorter sessions of 5-10 minutes at lower temperatures around 140-150°F if you're a beginner. Gradually build up time and heat as your body acclimates.
  • Drink at least 12 oz of water during a 30 minute sauna session to stay hydrated. Afterward, drink 1.5 times the amount of sweat lost to fully rehydrate.
  • Use essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender to enhance the sauna experience through aromatherapy benefits.
  • Always cool down gradually after intense sauna heat, such as with a cold shower, to prevent dizziness or nausea. The combination of heating and cooling provides added circulation and metabolism benefits.

Note: There are many ways to achieve heat therapy: dry saunas, steam saunas, hot tubs, hot showers, or sauna suit exercise, and even layering clothes during exercise. I will just be covering saunas today!

How Long Should You Stay In a Sauna?

Renowned neuroscientist Andrew Huberman recommends 1 hour of heat exposure split into 2-3 sessions at temperatures between 80-100°C or 176-212°F. This general protocol is a good starting point.

However, we all have different needs and goals. The ideal sauna routine depends on factors like your fitness level, health conditions, and whether you’re looking for weight loss, relaxation, or other benefits.

So let’s explore some more targeted protocols:

GOAL Session Time Frequency Temperature

Metabolism Increase:

20-30 Minutes
2 Sets/ 3 Days in a Row
175-210 F

Improve Heart Health:

5-20 Minutes
2 to 3 Times a Week
Depends on Heat Adaption

Muscle Growth:

20 Minutes
3 Times a Week
Depends on Heat Adaption

Detox

30-40 Minute
2 to 3 Times a Week
Depends on Heat Adaption

Relaxation:

12-20 Minutes
1-7 Times a Week
130-150 F

1. Increased Growth Hormone/ Metabolism:

20-30 minutes of sauna use at 175-210 F / Increases growth hormone by 1600%. These results have been seen when used for 3 days in a row. Get in the sauna for 20 minutes, cool down for 30 minutes, and repeat this twice.

Pro Tip: To further increase hormone growth production combine sauna use with cold plunging and/or follow this sauna protocol semi-fasted (no food consumed 2-3 hours before your session)

Pro Tip: To further increase hormone growth production combine sauna use with cold plunging and/or follow this sauna protocol semi-fasted (no food consumed 2-3 hours before your session)

2. Heart Health:

5 to 20 minutes per session and repeat the use of the sauna from 2 to 3x per week. The temperature ranges depending on your personal heat tolerance. 

3. Muscle-Growth:

Dr.Rhonda Patrick recommends 20 minutes, 3x per week to increase performance, and endurance, and aid muscle growth.

4. For Detox:

For detox 30 to 45 minutes should do the trick. This is a protocol for more experienced sauna users. This time frame should allow your body to heat up enough and start activating heat proteins.

5. For Relaxation:

For relaxation and stress relief, lower heat around 130-150°F is ideal for 15 to 20 minute sessions are what works for me.  This one really depends on what feels good for your body. Create a peaceful atmosphere with calming music or aromatherapy.

6. How Long Should Beginners Stay in The Sauna?

For beginners, it’s recommended to start with just 5 to 10 minutes at lower temperatures around 140-150°F. Build up time and heat gradually as your body acclimates. You don’t want to shock your body or cause any damage to your brain and organs.

7. How Long Should I Stay in an Infrared Sauna?

 25 minutes at 55ºC at least 3 times a week is a great place to start. There is still lots of on going research when it comes to infrared saunas!

Why is Sauna Temperature Important?

Sauna hut at night

The hotter the sauna, the shorter your session should be. Intense heat raises your core temperature fast, leading to discomfort and safety issues if you overdo it.

The longer you stay, the cooler the sauna or steam room can be. Find your sweet spot between heat high enough for benefits but not so scorching you feel sick.

Extreme heat impacts your body, so start slow. Drink water and take breaks. Consult your doctor if you have health conditions before cranking it up.

You want it hot enough to activate heat shock proteins – but not so hot you get dizzy or dehydrated.

What is The Best Time To Use a Sauna?

Experts like Dr. Andrew Huberman recommend following your natural circadian rhythm. Since your body cools down in the morning to wake you up, match that with cold exposure (cold plunges, cold showers, etc) for energy.

Later in the day as your body warms up to prepare for sleep, heat from the sauna can enhance that relaxing effect. The evenings can be a great sauna time for many.

Some enjoy sauna sessions after a workout when the body is already warm. Just be sure to cool down properly and hydrate well to avoid dehydration.

My Personal Tips for Sauna Use:

Drink Your Water

Studies suggest drinking at least 12 ounces (350ml) of water during a 30-minute sauna session. This helps replace some fluids lost while sweating.

To fully rehydrate after, aim to drink 1.5 times the amount of sweat lost. So if you lose 16 ounces (450ml) of sweat, drink 24 ounces (675ml) of water post-sauna.

Pro Tip: Consider adding electrolytes or salt to your water for extra hydration!

Wear The Proper Attire:

Having the right clothing can make or break your sauna experience. The goal is to keep your skin exposed to sweat while still protecting sensitive areas.

For women, a sauna suit, bathing suit, or light shorts and tank top work well. 

For men, sauna suits or swim trunks are ideal, along with no shirt or a lightweight tank. Avoid everyday clothes like jeans that absorb sweat and restrict heat.

Sauna-specific gear like hats and towels are useful for protecting your head and sitting area. Public saunas may require loose-fitting attire. The right sauna wear keeps you cool while letting your body benefit from healthy sweating and heat exposure.

Essential Oils:

Adding essential oils to your sauna session can enhance the experience and provide maximum health benefits. Eucalyptus oil opens up airways, peppermint cools the body, and lemon uplifts the mood. Sandalwood, lavender, and chamomile create a relaxing vibe to help unwind.

Just a few drops on hot sauna rocks or a cotton towel is all you need. Breathe deeply to ingest oils as you heat up. Experiment to find your favorite aromas and recipes to benefit your mind and body. Essential oils mixed with heat can improve circulation, relaxation, and immunity – safely boosting your overall sauna experience.

Pro Tip: Combine peppermint and citrus for a refreshing and energizing blend!

For Men:

Studies show frequent sauna use may lower testosterone levels in men. To counter this, bring a cool pack to place on the groin area for a few minutes mid-session.

Cooling the testes for short bursts while in the heated sauna can help maintain healthy testosterone levels. Just be sure not to over-cool the area.

Placing a towel-draped cool pack on your lower abdomen area towards the end of your sauna session can provide the right balance of heat and cold exposure for optimal male health.

Cool Down:

After heating up in the sauna, be sure to cool your body back down. Many sauna users recommend taking a cold shower or a dip in a cold pool after your session. The quick cold exposure helps close pores, slows your heart rate, and reduces inflammation. It also prevents dizziness or nausea from the heat.

If a cold shower isn’t accessible, you can alternatively use cold compresses on your neck, wrists, and other pulse points. Cooling off gradually is key after intense sauna heat.

The combination of heating and cooling is thought to provide added circulation and metabolism-boosting benefits compared to sauna alone

What are the benefits of taking regular sauna sessions?

Inside sauna at night

Here are a few of the benefits of using the sauna a few times a week and using the proper protocol:

Long Story Short

And there you have it – everything you need to know to maximize the benefits and enjoyment of your sauna bathing!

We covered how factors like temperature, humidity, and your fitness level impact how long you should stay in. You now know how much time you should spend on goals like weight loss, stress relief, or detox. Useful tips like proper attire, hydration, essential oils, and cooling off help round out your ideal sauna routine.

Remember to start low and slow, listen to your body, and find the sauna sweet spot that works for YOU.

By following these guidelines, you can soak up all the perks of sauna time – like better heart health, glowing skin, and boosted immunity – in a safe and sustainable way.

I hope these tips help you steam your way to improved well-being.

Happy sweating!

Time In A Sauna FAQ:

How does detoxification in a sauna work?

In a sauna session, detoxification happens when you sweat. The sauna’s elevated temperature makes your body perspire, effectively flushing out toxins from your skin. This sweating process expels substances like heavy metals, chemicals, and impurities. Additionally, the heat promotes better blood circulation, assisting in the removal of waste products.

Is Daily Sauna Use Safe?

It depends. When using a sauna daily, remember to stay hydrated and listen to your body. Frequent sauna use is generally considered safe and offers a lot of benefits as long as you don’t exceed your personal heat tolerance and take breaks as needed. Be sure to cool down fully between sessions and wear the appropriate attire. Consult your doctor before you use the sauna, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

What Are The Risks of Saunas?

Saunas are generally considered safe for healthy individuals if used appropriately. To avoid issues like heat exhaustion or heat stroke, start slowly, hydrate well, and don’t overdo the length of sessions. Those with health conditions should consult a healthcare professional before sauna use. Limit use if feeling dizzy or nauseous. As with any new health routine, moderation is key to safely enjoying sauna benefits.

How Much Time Should I Spend in Sauna for Weighloss?

To see weight loss benefits, aim for 50 minutes of sauna time per week. Divide this into four to seven times per week. Additionally, 11 minutes of cold therapy per week, split into 3-4 sessions, can boost results. The combination of heating and cooling sessions helps increase metabolic markers. As always, stay hydrated and listen to your body.

Can I use a sauna after a workout?

Yes, use one after a workout. It can help relax your muscles and promote recovery. If you have a sauna at the gym, make sure you cool down and drink plenty of water before your sweat session.

Should I use saunas or steam rooms?

Both a sauna or a steam room offer unique benefits. Saunas use dry heat, while steam rooms create a humid environment. The choice between the two depends on personal preference and desired effects.

Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional. The information provided in this post for sauna use is based on general knowledge and should not be considered medical advice or a substitute for professional guidance. Saunas aren’t always recommended, especially for individuals with certain health conditions. It is crucial to consult your doctor before starting a sauna routine to ensure it is suitable for your specific circumstances and to be done cautiously.

About the Author, Sophia Victoria
About the Author, Sophia Victoria

Sophi is a health, wellness, and lifestyle blogger who uses, research, and tests products and theories to help others improve their mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. With her own eating disorder journey, regulating her hormones, and working with 10+ nutritionists, she deeply understands the health and wellness. Sophi is also well-knowledged in self-development and committed to sharing her knowledge, experience, and expertise with her readers.

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