How Long to Stay in a Sauna for Optimal Health Benefits?

How Long to Stay in a Sauna for Optimal Health Benefits?

For optimal results and to stay safe, you should aim to spend 15-20 minutes in a sauna. If you're new to this, starting with 5-10 minutes is a smart move to see how your body reacts.

Keep in mind that sauna use isn't for everyone, particularly if you have specific health issues. Unsure if this applies to you? Before hopping in, it's best to check with a doctor or healthcare expert.

Keep reading to learn more tips on how long you should stay in a sauna and the potential risks of staying too long.

How Long Should You Stay In A Sauna?

Finding the sweet spot for how long to stay in a sauna can make all the difference in your experience. According to experts Kory Taylor and Elizabeth B. Jones, factors such as heat exposure can significantly increase the risk of dehydration.

For Beginners

If you're new to using a sauna, it's super important to take it easy at first. Beginners might not be used to the high temperatures, which can go from warm to hot - we're talking about 110 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit! Since everyone's body reacts differently to heat, starting slow and short is the way to go.

A good rule of thumb for beginners is to stay in the sauna for about 5 to 10 minutes per session. This way, your body can get used to the heat without getting overwhelmed. Remember, listening to your body is key. If you start feeling dizzy or uncomfortable, it's time to step out and cool down.

After A Workout

A bit longer can be okay for those who like to hit the sauna after a workout since your body is already loosened up from exercise. Aim for 10 to 15 minutes to help your muscles relax and eliminate those extra toxins. Just make sure to hydrate well before and after.

Science says it's good for you, especially your muscles and mind. Take this study from 2015 published in SpringerPlus, for instance. It found that chilling in a sauna, whether the steamy Finnish kind or one that uses far infrared heat, can help your muscles recover after you've pushed them to the limit. And it's not just about feeling less sore.

A more recent study in 2023 by Biology of Sport looked at basketball players who used an infrared sauna to cool down. Not only did their muscles bounce back better, making them ready for more action, but these athletes also felt better mentally.

Related: How Long to Sit in a Sauna after a Workout

Sauna Type and Duration

Not all of them are the same when it comes to relaxing in a sauna.

  1. Traditional Finnish saunas, for example, are super hot and slightly dry. They reach 160 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, but the air is pretty dry, with humidity only around 10-20%. Because of this, you don't stay in them as long, usually about 10 to 15 minutes, so you don't get too overwhelmed by the heat.
  2. Then you've got infrared saunas, which are the new thing. Instead of making the air around you hot, they use infrared lights to warm your body directly. It's not as hot in there, usually between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which means you can chill in these for 20 to 45 minutes without feeling too hot or uncomfortable.
  3. Steam rooms are a whole different vibe. They're all about humidity, using steam to make the air really warm and wet. The temperature is usually slightly cooler, around 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, but with almost 100% humidity. While the steam is awesome for your skin, spending too much time in such a humid place can make you feel tired or even give you a headache. That's why most folks stick to shorter visits, around 10 to 20 minutes.


Age is a big factor when it comes to enjoying a sauna safely. Your body changes as you get older. For instance, you might not feel as thirsty because your body doesn't hold onto water like it used to.

That's why older folks need to be careful about not getting too hot or staying in the sauna too long to avoid dehydrating. Cleveland Clinic even says that we lose muscle and get more body fat as we age, which changes how our bodies handle water.

On the flip side, kiddos have their own set of challenges. They can overheat and get dehydrated faster than adults because they sweat a lot and don't have a lot of body water. Really young children, like babies and toddlers, may not even be able to say when they're thirsty.

That's why they should steer clear of saunas. For other children and seniors, keeping sauna sessions short, like 10 to 15 minutes, can help ensure their time is fun and safe.

Health Conditions

Your health really matters when deciding how long to stay in a sauna. Research shows that people with certain health problems need to be extra careful. If you have heart issues like coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, problems breathing, or skin conditions, you might have to shorten your sauna time or maybe not go at all.

It's super important to talk to a doctor before using a sauna. They can tell you what's safe for you based on your health.

Sauna Duration for Specific Health Goals

Health Goal


Additional Notes

General Relaxation

15-20 minutes

Listen to your body's response to heat.

Muscle Recovery After Exercise

10-15 minutes

Best after a cooldown period.

Improved Circulation

15-20 minutes

Increases with regular use over time.


10-20 minutes

Stay hydrated to support toxin release.

Stress Reduction

15-20 minutes

Combine with deep breathing for best results.

Skin Health

10-15 minutes

Follow with a cool shower to close pores.

Weight Loss

20-30 minutes

Combined with a healthy diet and exercise.

Cardiovascular Health Enhancement

15-20 minutes

Consult with a doctor if pre-existing conditions exist.

Note: Always ensure adequate hydration before, during, and after sauna use to maximize benefits and minimize risks.

Why Does It Matter How Long You Stay in a Sauna?

Understanding the right amount of time to spend in a sauna is crucial for reaping the health benefits while avoiding negative side effects. Saunas have long been appreciated for their ability to enhance physical and mental health, with their popularity increasing in recognition of their health benefits. Here's a breakdown of why the duration of your sauna session matters:

  • Improves Cardiovascular Health: According to Healthline, spending the right amount of time in a sauna can boost cardiovascular health.
  • Energy Boost and Weight Loss: Regular, appropriately timed sauna sessions can also help increase your energy levels and promote weight loss.
  • Detoxification: A key benefit of sauna use is detoxification through sweating. However, a session that is too short might not allow your body to sweat enough, limiting detox removal.

Staying too short in a sauna may not provide your body the full benefits that are received with a longer duration, and it leads to:

  • Poor detoxification: Not staying long enough can lead to ineffective toxin removal.
  • Respiratory Relief: Short sessions may not provide significant respiratory benefits for those with asthma or allergies.
  • Limited respiratory benefits: Inadequate time may not effectively improve lung function or clear mucus.
  • Relaxation and Stress Reduction: According to Cleveland Clinic, sauna bathing has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and increase endorphins, leading to deep relaxation. However, short sessions might not allow full psychological benefits.

Conversely, staying too long in a sauna can introduce risks such as:

  • Dehydration: Loss of water, minerals, and electrolytes due to excessive sweating, as noted by Mayo Clinic, can lead to dehydration.
  • Hyperthermia: Overexposure can dangerously elevate body temperature, causing heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Skin Problems: Extended heat exposure can dry out the skin, leading to irritation, worsening of skin conditions, and premature aging.
  • Cardiovascular Issues: Extended stays can make your heart work harder, inducing heart problems for those with preexisting conditions, as highlighted by the Temple Health & Vascular Institute.

Balancing your sauna time is key to leveraging its benefits while avoiding potential harm.

Tips for Safe Sauna Use

Tips for Safe Sauna Use

Sauna time can be amazing for your health, but to keep it safe and fun, here are some easy tips everyone should know:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before you go into a sauna. If you're in there and start feeling thirsty or dizzy, it's time to take a break and drink water.
  • Listen to Your Body: Feeling good? Cool, stay a bit longer. Not feeling it today? That’s okay, too. Leave whenever you start to feel uncomfortable.
  • Take it Slow: Especially if you're new to saunas, start with shorter times and see how your body reacts. You can always stay longer next time.
  • Cool Down After: Don’t rush out and do heavy stuff immediately. Give your body some time to cool down after leaving the sauna. A cool shower can feel pretty awesome, too.
  • Eat Lightly Beforehand: Don't hit the sauna on a full stomach. A snack is okay, but a big meal can make you feel bad.
  • Use a Timer: It’s easy to lose track of time, so maybe set a timer on your phone or watch to remind you when to step out.

Remember, the goal is to relax and enjoy yourself, not to stress over doing it right. Remember these tips, and you'll have a great sauna time!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 30 minutes in a sauna safe?

Staying in a sauna for 30 minutes might be too much for many people. Sticking to 15 minutes or less at a time is a good idea. Take breaks if you really want to stay in longer, like up to 45 minutes.

Hop out, cool down, and drink some water before you think about going back in. Remember, everyone's body is different. Some folks might need to take it easy and spend less time, especially if they have certain health issues. It's all about listening to your body and not pushing it too hard.

Is it OK to go to the sauna every day?

Using a sauna at least once a week is great, but you'll see even better results if you use it more. It's safe to use a sauna every day as long as you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

The Takeaway

Saunas are a cool way to chill out, toss out the bad stuff from your body, bump up your body defense against germs, and make your skin look better. But, you gotta use them the right way. 

Most experts say you shouldn't hang out in a sauna for more than 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Pay attention to how you're feeling. If you're getting way too hot or feel like something's off, it's time to leave and maybe give it a go another day.

If you're considering getting into sauna therapy right at your house, look at CalmSpas. We got both traditional steam saunas and infrared saunas.

Got questions or need some help? Contact us, and we'll be happy to help you on your journey to more relaxation and better health.


  1. Ahokas EK, Ihalainen JK, Hanstock HG, Savolainen E, Kyröläinen H. A post-exercise infrared sauna session improves recovery of neuromuscular performance and muscle soreness after resistance exercise training.
  2. Laukkanen T, Kunutsor SK, Khan H, Willeit P, Zaccardi F, Laukkanen JA. Sauna bathing is associated with reduced cardiovascular mortality and improves risk prediction in men and women: a prospective cohort study.
  3. Laukkanen JA, Jae SY, Kauhanen J, Kunutsor SK. The Interplay between Systolic Blood Pressure, Sauna Bathing, and Cardiovascular Mortality in Middle-Aged and Older Finnish Men: A Cohort Study. J Nutr Health Aging.