Prolonged sauna use can lead to overheating, dehydration, and in extreme cases, heat stroke. It can also cause damage to the tissues, which may lead to burns on parts of the body that are exposed. This makes adopting a safe, effective sauna protocol super important.
To start, enter your sauna hydrated and try drinking at least 2-4 glasses of water after getting out. Adjust your intake (and potentially add in some electrolytes) based on how much you sweat. You should also limit your sauna session to around 15-20 minutes and avoid alcohol before heat exposure, which can increase the risk of serious side effects.
Kunutsor recommends sticking to a temperature between 80-100°C (176-212°F), which is the sweet spot to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck with each sauna session, according to research.
As far as how long you should aim for, he notes that it can vary a bit based on your personal preferences and comfort level, but “the overall evidence suggests that reaping the optimal benefits from sauna sessions requires a frequency of 3-7 sessions per week, with each session lasting approximately 15-20 minutes.”
However, if you start feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or like you have a racing heart, get out of the sauna. It’s not worth toughing it out for those extra few minutes.