How long should you stay in a sauna? 15 minutes? 25 minutes?
If you ask a Finn, you might get a puzzled look, as they consider saunas an integral part of their culture and lifestyle.
However, if you are new to saunas, having some guidelines can be helpful. In this blog post, we will explore the ideal duration to spend in a sauna, factors to consider, and the benefits of sauna usage.
A Good Rule of Thumb: For new sauna users, it is recommended to spend 10-15 minutes per round with cool-downs in between (important).
Your first round might be longer, especially if you start with a cold body temperature. That first sweat can take 10-15 minutes.
To maximize health benefits, consider 2-3 rounds with cold plunges in between.
Important Factors When Considering How Long To Stay In a Sauna
While enjoying a sauna, always listen to your body and don't push yourself too hard.
It's wise to have a sauna buddy, limit alcohol, drink plenty of water, and exit when your body signals you to do so.
Factors such as age, health conditions, previous sauna experience, and pregnancy should also be considered.
And you can always adjust the temperature if you want to spend more time in sauna bliss. Learn more about sauna temperature here.
7 Questions That Impact Your Sauna Duration:
Your ideal sauna session length depends on the answers to these questions:
- How healthy are you right now?
- Is it your first sauna bath or do you sauna regularly?
- Are you trying to get your partner pregnant?
- Do you have metabolic disorders or are you overweight/obese?
- Are you considering letting your children join you in the sauna?
- Are you pregnant right now?
- Do you have heart disease or high blood pressure?
Dry Sauna vs Infrared Sauna Duration
The recommendations in this blog post mainly apply to dry saunas, also known as Finnish or steam saunas. Infrared saunas may require different durations to achieve the desired warming effect, as they are not as hot.
Finnish Sauna Wisdom and Science: Sauna culture in Finland offers valuable insights into how long a beginner should spend in a sauna. Most people can start with a few sauna sessions per week and gradually increase to daily use. Finnish dry sauna bathing typically involves one to three sessions of 5 to 20 minutes each, interspersed with cooling periods.
Conclusion: Now that you have all the information you need, it's time to enjoy your sauna experience, whether it's an indoor or outdoor sauna, Finnish or infrared, DIY, or portable.
Remember to listen to your body, stay within your limits, and enjoy the numerous health benefits saunas have to offer.
Sauna Duration Studies and Further Reading
The important questions, like how long should you stay in a sauna have been tackled rigorously by Finnish academics. We’d love to be a part of their sauna studies.
- Zychowska, M., et al. Association of high cardiovascular fitness and the rate of adaptation to heat stress. Biomed Res Int 2018 Feb 2820181685368.
- Garolla, A., et al. Seminal and molecular evidence that sauna exposure affects human spermatogenesis. Hum Reprod 2013 Apr;28(4):877-85.)
- Pilch, W., et al. Changes in the lipid profile of blood serum in women taking sauna baths of various duration. Int J Occup Med Environ Mealth 2010;23(2):167-74.
- Krause, M., et al. Heat shock proteins and heat therapy for type 2 diabetes: pros and cons. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2015 Jul;18(4):374-80.
- Jokinen, E., et al. The sauna and children. Ann Clin Res 1988;20(4):283-6.
- Leppaluoto, J. Human thermoregulation in sauna. Ann Clin Res 1988;20(4):240-3.
- Rissmann, A., et al. Infant’s physiological response to short heat stress during sauna bath. Klin Padiatr 2002 May-Jun;214(3):132-5.
- Sun, Y., et al. Prenatal exposure to elevated maternal body temperature and risk of epilepsy in childhood: a population-based pregnancy cohort study. Paediatr Perinat epidemiol 2011 Jan;25(1):53-9.
- Laukkanen, T., et al. Acute effects of sauna bathing on cardiovascular function. J Hum Hypertens 2018 Feb;32(2):129-138.
- Lee, E., et al. Sauna exposure leads to improved arterial compliance: finding from a non-randomised experimental study. Eur J Prev Cardiol 2018 Jan;25(2):130-138.
- Radtke, T., et al. Acute effects of Finnish sauna and cold-water immersion on haemodynamic variables and autonomic nervous system activity in patients with heart failure. Eur J Prev Cardiol 2016 Apr; 23(6):593-601.