How Long and How Often Should You Use a Sauna?

Matt Justice

Saunas are highly beneficial when it comes to your health given the heat that they direct to your body and the internal and external changes that they can produce. There are various kinds of saunas, but how much time should you spend in a traditional sauna?

No matter what kind of sauna you use, you should limit the time spent inside it to a maximum of 15-20 minutes, with the time varying based on your expertise or reason for using the sauna. You can use a traditional sauna a minimum of three times each week to feel the benefits.

For more details on the duration and frequency of using a sauna as well as the benefits of using one, you can go through the following guide.

How Much Time Should You Spend in a Traditional Sauna?

There are several factors that can affect how much time you should spend in a traditional sauna. Traditional saunas usually rely on dry heat through heaters while also controlling the humidity using hot rocks and water. In this sense, the temperature tends to range from 140°F to 180°F while the humidity is around 30%.

As a result of such high heat, how long you can manage to stay in the sauna can depend on how used you are to the sauna. Additionally, if you are using the sauna after working out, this can also make a difference in how long you should stay in the sauna.

On average, 15 minutes is a good time for you to spend in the sauna. You can take a look at some specificities regarding this below.


If you are a beginner when it comes to using saunas, you must not use the sauna for more than 5-10 minutes at a time. This is because the heat might simply be too high for you to manage when you are not yet used to being in such a room. It can also end up overwhelming and dehydrating you if you’re there for any longer.

The first time you use the traditional (or any other) sauna, stay inside for only 5 minutes and take a break to cool down. Once you cool down, you can go in again for another 5-10 minutes. You can also simply try going again another day.

It is important to exercise this kind of caution at the beginning because suddenly using the sauna for 15-20 minutes right away might put you at risk of certain diseases and conditions, such as dehydration, hypotension, arrhythmia and more.

Give your body some time to get used to the heat so that you can gradually go on increasing the time that you spend inside the sauna.

Post Exercise

People often compare exercising and sauna use since the body reacts in a similar manner to both, such as sweating, rapid heart rate, quicker breaths and more. The benefits are quite similar as well.

Moreover, if you use the sauna after exercising or working out, you can increase the benefits that you feel even more while also getting a chance to relax and loosen up after your workout. But how long should you sit in a sauna after exercising? Should you enter it immediately after exercising?

It is crucial for you to wait for at least 10 minutes after exercising before you enter the sauna. This can give your body some time to relax and cool down after working out so that it does not get too overwhelmed. Immediately entering the sauna can end up making you dehydrated, tired, dizzy and exert even more pressure on your heart.

Once the 10 minutes are up, you can enter the sauna and sit inside for another 10-15 minutes. This can be a good way for you to feel the benefits of both working out and using the sauna while also giving your joints and muscles a chance to loosen up.

Maximum Limit

Once you are used to sitting in a traditional or another type of sauna, you can use it for 15-20 minutes each time, with 20 minutes being the cut-off or maximum limit. Once 20 minutes are up, you should leave the sauna so that you do not end up overdoing it.

Because the heat levels are so high inside a traditional sauna with the humidity also being pretty low, spending any longer than 20 minutes at a time will overwhelm your body and end up doing more harm than good, thus reversing the benefits that you may have gleaned.

For instance, if you spend a prolonged period of time inside a sauna, you might end up becoming dehydrated due to the amount of sweat leaving your body. This can also make you feel dizzy and cause damage to your heart, sometimes even causing sudden strokes and heart failure.

This kind of excess exposure to heat and the effects that it can lead to is referred to as the sweat lodge syndrome.

Best Time Limit to Feel the Benefits

Based on what we have seen above, it is ideal to spend 15 minutes in a traditional sauna so that you can feel the benefits of the heat. These benefits include improved circulation, reduced risk of cardiovascular conditions, detoxification, weight loss, reduction of stress, reduction of pain, improved sleep quality, clearer skin and improved metabolism, among others.

Make sure the temperature is around 150°F to feel the effects in a more complete way.

You should note that different benefits can require different time periods inside a sauna so that you can feel the effects. For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, you will need to spend around 15 minutes in the sauna so that the metabolism sets into motion while also secreting hormones and burning calories.

You can manage to burn as many as 600 calories in this manner.

Similarly, if your aim is detoxification, then 12-15 minutes can be good enough, considering that it might take 5-8 minutes for you to start sweating in the first place. This way, your body can secrete lactic acid and remove toxins like urea, ammonia and other heavy metals and chemicals.

How Often Should You Use a Sauna?

You know that you should use a sauna for around 15 minutes each session to feel the maximum benefits, but how often should you use it? How frequently should you have such 15-minute sessions?

Ideally, you should use the sauna at least three times each week so that your body gets used to the effects of the sauna and can actually end up feeling the benefits in the long run. Using the sauna any less than that is unlikely to equip your body to actually sustain the benefits.

Maintaining this kind of sustained and uniform sauna usage can allow you to feel numerous benefits. For instance, if you want to lose weight, you should use the sauna at least three times a week while also changing your routine often so that your body does not end up reaching a certain level and stopping at that.

Some research also suggests that you can increase the benefits you feel if you use the sauna 4-7 times a week. This can particularly help reduce the chances of strokes and other heart conditions, although it is best for you to consult a medical professional before using the sauna this often to ensure that it is safe.

Is It Okay to Use a Sauna Every Day?

Technically, it is okay to use a sauna every day, especially since it can reduce the risk of certain major conditions. However, if you want to use it on a daily basis, it is best to reduce the time that you spend inside the sauna from 15-20 minutes to 5-10 minutes.

This can help ensure that your body does not end up getting too overwhelmed and stressed. It might also lead to excessive fluid loss from your body, so make sure you stay hydrated before and after using the sauna.

If you want to spend more time in the sauna every day, it might be best to avoid this until you consult a doctor or another professional, especially since certain risk factors might lead to more harm than good.

Benefits of Regular Sauna Use

There are several benefits of regularly using a sauna with the aforementioned conditions. You can go through some of these benefits below.

Improved Cardiovascular Health

The heat will impact your heart in a positive manner by causing it to improve its pumping rate, allowing blood and oxygen flow to improve in the body. This can improve circulation, facilitate healing, regulate your blood pressure and reduce the risk of several chronic heart diseases as well as the risk of stroke.

Apart from this, blood lipid levels can also go down.


Our bodies are constantly exposed to harmful chemicals and toxins in our external environment. These can cause significant harm to the body, but since sauna usage can open up the sweat pores and allow our bodies to sweat considerably, these toxins can end up making their way out.

This can help clear our bodies of too much harm. Even heavy metals get removed through sweating.

Weight Loss

Sauna usage can lead to weight loss if you undertake your sessions fairly often (around thrice a week) and for a sustained period of time. This can lead to sweating and can end up burning plenty of calories. Over time, you can notice the effect that this has on your weight.

Of course, you might not only be able to rely on a sauna for losing weight, so make sure you exercise and make lifestyle changes too.

Reduction of Stress

Regular sauna usage can help reduce how much stress your body and mind might be feeling at a given moment. It can reduce the levels of cortisol and epinephrine while leading to the secretion of hormones like norepinephrine and endorphins. The heat can also help your body relax and not feel too stiff.

This can be a good way to unwind and loosen up.

Reduction of Pain

If you are feeling some pain in your joints or muscles, a sauna can help with this since the high levels of heat can work on this pain and loosen up the knots and tightness. This also takes place due to improved blood circulation.

With regular sauna use, you can prevent the pain from becoming worse while also reducing the risk of conditions like arthritis.

Improved Sleep Quality

Your sleep quality can improve quite a bit with regular sauna use. While the sauna might increase the temperatures of your body while you are still using it, it can also lead to a cooling effect after you come out of it due to the sweat produced.

This can help bring your body temperature down, which is what your body needs to have a good night’s sleep.

Better Skin

Since the sweat produced inside a sauna can remove toxins and chemicals from the body, it can also take along some dirt and toxins present on the skin since the sweat pores are present on the skin.

Improved Metabolism

Your metabolism rate might improve considerably with regular sauna use. This is because of the reactions that take place inside the body. This kind of improved metabolism can work well for weight loss while also supporting growth, healing and digestion.

This effect is similar to what your body undergoes while exercising.

The Bottom Line

It is clear that you should ideally use a sauna for 15 minutes each session while conducting each session at least thrice a week. Make sure you limit yourself to 20 minutes while also starting out with 5 minutes if you are a beginner. Do not overwork your body too much either.

It is only if you follow these guidelines that you will be able to feel all the advantages that a sauna can have in store for you, such as good heart health, weight loss, detoxification, clearer skin, stress reduction, improved sleep quality, improved metabolism and others.

About Matt Justice

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