Sauna Routine 101: Creating The Best Routine

Developing a healthy sauna routine will transform your life. Seriously.

They say a habit can be formed in less than 60 days. That’s really all it takes. The trouble usually lies in finding the consistency to do it repeatedly for a couple months.

So how do you create the perfect sauna routine that fits your lifestyle? How do you find the time to make it possible for you to build a habit? In this article we’ll explore how you can develop a routine that’ll help you form a healthy habit.

Let’s dive into it.

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Why develop a sauna routine?

You should develop a sauna routine if you want to live a longer, happier life. It’s as simple as that. There is evidence to suggest (which we’ll dive further into in a second) that people who sauna consistently have a lower risk of mortality and are generally happier people.

Our mantra here at Sauna Squad is to help you optimize your life and regular sauna use is a great way to begin to do that. But how do you build that consistency?

Building a healthy sauna routine

The building blocks of a sauna routine are all about finding what works for you. We were inspired by James Clear’s book Atomic Habits and we love the idea of forming healthy habits that over time become unconscious and automatic.

We highly recommend you experiment with your sauna sessions and try different things until you find what works best for you. Maybe you’re a morning sauna user, or maybe it’s the last thing you do before bed. Maybe you prefer 40 minute sessions 1-2 times per week over 15 minute sessions 4-5 times per week.

Either way, by following this easy four step approach, your sauna routine will be automatic in no time:

Woman and man sitting with eyes closed in sauna practicing mindfulness meditation

1. Start gradually

You’re inevitably going to have the urge to go big when you first start your sauna journey. But your body just isn’t ready for that. Imagine you’re new to running and you immediately try for a half marathon…  it’s probably not going to end well.

So rather than hurting yourself, we recommend starting with short sessions of about 10-15 minutes at a lower temperature. The ideal temperature will depend if you’re using an infrared, traditional dry or steam sauna.

This gives your body time to adjust to the heat. Listen to your body and exit the sauna if you start feeling dizzy or uncomfortable. Over time, as your tolerance increases, you can gradually extend the duration and raise the temperature.

2. Develop consistency

Creating a consistent sauna routine requires planning and commitment. To start, find a routine that fits seamlessly into your schedule, aiming for one to two sessions per week. As your body adjusts, you can gradually increase the frequency of your sauna sessions.

If your kids keep you busy in the evenings with activities, or you usually work late on specific days, then it’s important to work around that. Maybe you find it easiest to sauna first thing in the morning (HIGHLY recommended by the way). Or maybe it’s the last thing you do before bed (also highly recommend).

It’s all about finding that consistency to form that unconscious habit.

3. Keep yourself accountable

Keeping yourself accountable can make all the difference.  Many people find journaling as a healthy form of accountability, so we recommend keeping a sauna journal if that’ll help with your consistency.

You can track your progress, jot down how you felt during and after each session, plus you can note any changes in your sleep quality, stress levels, or overall well-being.

This record will serve as a motivation tool and a way to observe the benefits of your regular sauna routine.

4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

This is just good advice in general but keeping hydrated is an essential part of any sauna routine. The high temperatures cause you to sweat profusely, leading to loss of fluids. Drinking plenty of water before your session prepares your body to handle this fluid loss.

Equally important is rehydrating after your sauna session to replace the fluids lost and prevent dehydration, helping you recover faster.

Ideal session length for building your routine

We’ve discussed sauna length before but we’ll briefly touch on it again here. For beginners, it’s crucial to start slowly. You’re introducing your body to a new experience, so start with sessions of around 10-15 minutes.

This initial phase helps your body adjust to the heat and promotes safer, more enjoyable sauna sessions.  We recommend starting at 1-2 sessions per week and building from there.

Sauna usage veterans can push their sessions up to 45 minutes or more. However, even if you’re an expert, always prioritize comfort and listen to your body’s signals. Overdoing it could lead to dehydration or overheating.

Stick man relaxing in traditional dry sauna with towel around neck next to two rolled towels and water bucket and ladle
Artwork courtesy of our 11 year old daughter M.K. 🙂

The best sauna routine to reduce mortality risk

“Those who used a sauna 4-7 times a week had a 40% lower risk of mortality from any cause.”

The best sauna routine to reduce your risk of mortality risk is one that combines consistent sauna use and session length. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015 studied 2,315 Finnish men age 42-60 for 20 years and here are the results:

  • Those who used a sauna 2-3 times a week had a 24% lower risk of death
  • Those who used a sauna 4-7 times a week had a 40% lower risk, compared to those who used a sauna once a week
  • The men in the study spent an average of 14 minutes per visit in a sauna
  • Temperature ranged from 174 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit (80 to 100 degrees Celsius)

Long story short here guys: any consistent sauna routine is essential in keeping a person healthy and happy. All the money in the world can’t provide health and happiness, but a sauna sure can.

Contraindications and precautions

We should add the caveat that as new studies and research are published, more information may become available to further refine your sauna routine. Always refer to the most up-to-date medical advice and guidelines.

While saunas are generally safe for most people, there are some contraindications to be aware of. Pregnant women, elderly individuals, and those with specific medical conditions such as heart disease should seek medical advice before starting a sauna routine. Always listen to your body and leave the sauna if you start to feel dizzy or uncomfortable. These signs could indicate that your body is overheating.

Article wrap-up

Let’s wrap this article up, shall we? Sauna routines provide an array of health benefits, from promoting detoxification and cardiovascular health to enhancing sleep quality and reducing stress levels.

However, the key to an effective sauna routine lies in a gradual progression, establishing consistency, keeping yourself accountable and maintaining hydration. Always remember to listen to your body and consult a healthcare professional if you have any health concerns.

A message from Sauna Squad

We hope we’ve provided some value in your research. But if you have any questions or concerns, hit us up on Instagram @thesaunasquad or feel free to fire us a message on our contact page.

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