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Sauna Duration Guidelines: How Long to Sit in a Sauna

Saunas have been used for thousands of years to enhance relaxation. Today, many people use saunas to improve their health. Saunas help detoxify, as the heat helps sweat out toxins from the body. They can also reduce stress, improve muscle development, relieve pain, and improve blood circulation.

The high temperatures and increased humidity can bring many benefits to your body, but how long should you sit in a sauna to achieve the health benefits and avoid overheating? The time you spend in a sauna will depend on factors such as age considerations, sauna temperature and humidity, and personal health and fitness level. Overstaying in a sauna and raising your body temperature beyond a limit can be risky to your body.

This article will explain how long you can sit in a sauna to reap maximum benefits and avoid overheating. We will also discuss the safety tips when using a sauna. Keep reading to learn more.

How Long Should You Sit in a Sauna?

As mentioned, the time you can spend in your sauna depends on the sauna temperature and humidity and how well you can tolerate heat. It may also depend on age, personal health, and fitness level.

Generally, it is recommended to start with shorter sauna sessions and gradually increase the time as your body acclimates to the heat. A general guideline is to stay in the sauna for 15 to 20 minutes per session.\

Factor Influencing Sauna Duration

The following are factors that influence how long to sit in a sauna.

Personal Health and Fitness Level

While saunas are considered safe for most users, some people must take extra precautions. Your fitness level and personal health can affect how long you can comfortably sit in a sauna. You should avoid using a sauna if you have high-risk medical conditions, such as low or high blood pressure, severe aortic stenosis, and abnormal heartbeats. Using a sauna while on medications that can interfere with your body's ability to regulate its temperature is risky.

If you are taking medications or have any medical conditions, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before using a sauna. Depending on your health condition, your doctor can guide you on the appropriate sauna duration.

Age considerations

Age is a relevant factor to consider when using a sauna. While there is no clearly defined age for when one is allowed to use a sauna, many experts recommend that kids under six years should not use them. Given that a child's body is still developing, it may be more difficult for the body to regulate its temperature. This can make them prone to a higher risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration.

Children aged six years and above can use saunas safely but should have shorter sauna sessions. They should spend at most 15 minutes per session and always be accompanied by an adult. You will want to ensure they can handle the sauna temperature and know the necessary precautions, such as taking breaks and staying hydrated.

The time spent by an adult in a sauna can vary, depending on personal preferences, level of experience, fitness level, and personal health. Generally, the recommended sauna duration for an experienced, healthy adult is between 15 and 20 minutes per session.

Older folks can start with 5 to 10 minutes per session but will still need to be cautious, specifically if they have existing health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Older adults should consult with their healthcare providers for personalized recommendations on sauna duration and any precautions they should take.

Sauna Temperature and Humidity

The temperature and humidity of a sauna play are crucial in determining the duration of your sauna session. Sauna temperatures typically range between 158°F and 212°F. Your sauna session should last 5 to 10 minutes in extremely high temperatures. If you set the temperature below the typical sauna range, your sessions can last between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on your preference.

The higher the sauna temperature, the shorter the recommended duration per session. Higher temperatures can cause your body to heat up more rapidly and cause overheating if you stay in the sauna for too long. On the other hand, lower sauna temperatures allow for extended exposure to heat without causing discomfort or overheating.

Sauna humidity levels also determine how long you can comfortably sit in a sauna. Low humidity allows sweat to evaporate quickly, promoting a feeling of dry heat. In contrast, high humidity makes the air feel hotter and denser, potentially reducing the duration of a sauna session.

General Guideline for Sauna Duration

The guideline on how long to sit in a sauna comes down to whether you are a beginner, regular, or experienced user.

Beginners and First-Time Users

If you are a beginner, start with shorter sessions of 5 to 10 minutes. This allows your body to adjust to the heat. You can gradually increase the duration once you adjust to the heat and become more comfortable.

Regular Sauna Users

If you have been using a sauna regularly and are familiar with the sessions, you can extend the duration to 15 to 20 minutes per session. Make sure that you are hydrated before the sauna session. Also, it is vital to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard.

Experienced Sauna Enthusiasts

Experienced sauna enthusiasts have developed high heat tolerance and are familiar with their body's response to sauna sessions. They can customize their duration based on preference. These sauna users can feel comfortable with longer sessions lasting 20 to 30 minutes. You will want to ensure you stay hydrated.

Listening to Your Body

Sitting in a sauna exposes your body to heat stress and may dehydrate you due to excess sweating. So, you should always listen to your body and exit the sauna if you feel weak or dizzy.

Some of the signs of overheating or discomfort are:

  • Nausea or headaches
  • Excessive sweating or difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Self-awareness is essential during your sauna sessions as it helps you monitor your body's reactions and limits. It enables you to recognize overheating or discomfort, allowing you to adjust the duration and temperature accordingly. It lets you identify your preferences and adapt the sauna conditions to suit your comfort level. You can control the humidity or regulate the temperature based on your preferences.

When you practice self-awareness techniques like meditation and deep breathing, you can enhance the meditative aspect of your sauna session, leading to improved mental health and stress reduction. Also, self-awareness can help you recognize the signs of dehydration and exhaustion, allowing you to hydrate, take breaks, or exit the sauna if necessary.

Sauna Safety Tips

If you are using a sauna, the following are safety tips to keep in mind.

Hydration and Electrolyte Balance

Staying hydrated during your sauna sessions is essential because your body needs to replenish fluids lost through sweating. You will want to drink plenty of water before (one to two glasses) and after your sessions. It is also essential to have a bottle of water nearby inside the sauna so you do not become dehydrated.

While saunas are fantastic for detoxing, they deplete electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, magnesium, and phosphate. Electrolyte imbalances can affect overall levels of health and lead to chronic dehydration. You can replenish the essential minerals and electrolytes lost by drinking drinks containing electrolytes.

Taking Breaks and Cooling Down

No matter how experienced you are, you should always take breaks to cool down your body when using a sauna. 15 to 20 minutes at a time is generally considered okay. The length of time the body can tolerate will vary from one person to another. After every session, get out of the sauna or sit in a cooler place for a few minutes to regulate your body temperature.


Avoiding Alcohol and Medications

It is important to avoid alcohol if you plan to use a sauna. When you consume alcohol, your body is more prone to dehydration. Also, you should avoid medications before your sauna sessions, especially those that can prevent your body from sweating. Doing so puts you at risk of severe health issues.

Consulting a Healthcare Professional

While saunas are safe for most people, some medical conditions may contraindicate sauna use or require extra caution. This may include respiratory issues, skin conditions, pregnancy, and cardiovascular conditions. So, if you have any underlying health conditions, be sure to consult a healthcare professional before using a sauna.

Maximizing Sauna Benefits

Here are ways you can maximize sauna benefits.

Precautions for Certain Health Conditions

Precautions for some health conditions can help maximize sauna benefits while ensuring your safety. For instance, people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease should exercise caution when using saunas. Such individuals will want to limit their sessions to shorter durations and moderate temperatures.

Pairing Sauna Sessions with Proper Post-sauna Routines

Creating a proper post-sauna routine and integrating it seamlessly into your sauna sessions can boost health benefits and help speed your body's recovery. Your post-sauna routine should be tailored to your needs and personal preferences.

Your body temperature is elevated after using a sauna, so it is essential to cool down gradually. You will also want to rehydrate by drinking plenty of water or electrolyte-rich beverages to replenish lost fluids. You can then take a cool, refreshing shower and find a comfortable place to relax after your sessions.

In addition, you can maximize sauna benefits by incorporating sauna use into a well-rounded wellness routine. This may include setting a sauna routine, warming up before your sessions to improve circulation and prepare the body for the heat, and alternating temperatures if your sauna offers different temperature options. You can also incorporate sauna sessions into your exercise routine.


The time to spend in a sauna depends on sauna temperature and humidity, personal health, age, and personal preferences. Beginners can start with shorter sessions of 5 to 10 mins and gradually increase the duration as the body adjusts to heat. Regular sauna users can sit in a sauna for 15 to 20 minutes, while experienced users can feel comfortable with sessions lasting 20 to 30 minutes.

Responsible sauna usage is essential for optimal health benefits and a safe, enjoyable sauna experience. Consider our Forever Saunas Thermally Treated Saunas for a great sauna experience, and contact our team with any questions.

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