Is Infrared Sauna Good for A Hangover? (Hint: Yes, it is)

Is infrared sauna actually good for a hangover? Boy, do I have a story for you…

A new arcade and entertainment center for adults opened up near my house recently.

Hell yeah! I thought. Hey, I’m a sucker for a good time.

I sent out a group text to my buddies and the stars aligned. Somehow all of us were available that night. Our wives had let us out to play. It was going to be an epic time. We hadn’t all been together in ages.

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Let the games begin

The night started out innocently enough, with dinner, an Old Fashioned or two and watching sports in their insane sports bar. 

The boys were feeling good, and we decided to play some games. We’re all extremely competitive, so an air hockey tournament turned into a hoops contest turned into a skeeball tournament turned into Go Karts, turned into… well, you get the idea.

The punishment for last place in every game? You had to buy a round of drinks.

Soooo… about a billion drinks and an empty wallet later, we were all in a state that none of us had been in since our University days.

Lo and behold, I barely remember the Uber ride home or the rest of the night I spent lying on the bathroom floor. 

You can probably see where this is going. Yes, dear reader, I indeed awoke the next morning to the mother of all hangovers…

I’m Hungover… Will a Sauna Bring Me Hangover Relief?

Wood panel infrared sauna in dimly lit room on Sauna Squad website
Our little slice of paradise – the infrared sauna in our basement

I was incredibly hungover.

I had ALL of the common hangover symptoms. Headache? Stomach pain? Upset stomach and nausea? Anxiety? Dehydration? Check, check, check, check and check.

So I immediately popped a couple Advil and drank some Hydralyte, which helped make life an iota more tolerable. My head was still pounding like a jackhammer though. 

Good Lord, what will bring me some relief? I thought.

I had a big decision to make. I could either wave the white flag, crawl into a dark pit of despair, laying in the fetal position on the couch all day. OR… I could try to make things better. 

As you probably already know, I opted for the latter. 

I filled up my 32 oz. Nalgene water bottle, fired up my infrared sauna, and prayed that I would make it through the day.

And make it through the day I did.

The infrared sauna indeed brought me hangover relief. And I most definitely sweated out the sins of my previous night all over my Turkish cotton towels.

What The Science Says About Hangovers and Sauna Use

Alright, I get it. my story is one full of anecdotes, but no solid evidence. I hear you. But don’t just take my ridiculous story as the gospel truth. Here’s what the science says about how and why sauna can help reduce hangovers.

Current research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests that hangovers are the result of a combination of factors, including dehydration, gastrointestinal irritation, inflammation and Acetaldehyde exposure, which is a toxin produced in the liver.

What we’ve learned from previous Sauna Squad articles that have touched on the benefits of infrared sauna use is that infrared saunas can provide relief from inflammation, improve blood flow and increase one’s metabolism. 

Benefits of Using a Sauna for Hangovers:

Image of woman in sauna feeling worse after infrared sauna session
  • Sweating: Saunas stimulate perspiration, a natural mechanism for the body to expel unwanted substances. This also facilitates the removal of alcohol toxins.
  • Enhanced Blood Circulation: The heat from saunas causes vasodilation, or the widening of blood vessels. This could potentially accelerate the removal of toxins from the bloodstream.
  • Increased Metabolism: There is scientific evidence to suggest sauna helps improve one’s metabolism, making it easier for your body to metabolize any residual alcohol in your bloodstream

Potential Risks of Sauna Use Post-Alcohol Consumption:

  • Exacerbated Dehydration: Alcohol inherently leads to dehydration. Sauna sessions further deplete bodily fluids, posing a risk of intensified dehydration.
  • Increased Cardiovascular Demand: Saunas elevate the heart rate. Following significant alcohol intake, this added strain on the cardiovascular system may be concerning for some individuals.
  • Elevated Heart Rate: Sauna causes a temporary drop in blood pressure and can elevate one’s heart rate. Due to the blood thinning nature of alcohol, this can elevate one’s heart rate.

Best Practices for Using Sauna for Hangover Relief

Alright, so we’ve mentioned that sauna can help with hangover relief, but what do best practices look like?

Step 1: Prepare for Your Sauna Session Before entering the infrared sauna, ensure you’re well-hydrated. Drinking cold water is crucial for hangover recovery, so start by sipping water to replenish lost fluids.

Step 2: Set the Right Temperature Once you’re ready, set the sauna to a comfortable temperature. Experts suggest around 110-130°F (43-54°C) as an optimal range for infrared saunas. Traditional dry saunas (aka Finnish saunas) are typically higher in temperature, ranging from 150-195°F (65-90°C).

Step 3: Relax and Detoxify Enter the sauna and let the gentle heat embrace you. This warmth not only offers relaxation but also aids in detoxification, promoting wellness and easing hangover symptoms.

Step 4: Monitor Your Session Length For hangover relief, a session of 20-30 minutes is recommended. This duration allows your body to enjoy the health advantages of the sauna without overexerting.

Step 5: Hydrate During and After Remember to continue hydrating during your session. After your session, take a moment to cool down and drink more water, aiding in further hangover relief and heat therapy benefits.

Woman in towel sitting in sauna with radiant skin with man

Article Wrap Up

Alright, let’s wrap this article up.

Science tells us hangovers are a messy mix of dehydration, irritation, inflammation and toxins. And from what we’ve dug up, saunas might just be the secret weapon. They get you sweating, boost your blood flow, and rev up your metabolism. Sounds like a hangover cure, right?

But, hold your horses. Jumping into a sauna after a night of heavy drinking isn’t all roses. You’re already dehydrated, and saunas are like a desert for your body. Plus, your heart’s already in flux from all the booze, so take it easy.

If you’re set on trying a sauna for your next hangover, here’s my two cents: Drink plenty of water! Hydrate like you’re crossing the Sahara before stepping into that heat. Start slow, and listen to your body. It’s already been through a lot, remember?

In conclusion, is sauna a good cure for hangovers? You’ve got my (anecdotal) endorsement. But like everything in life, moderation is key, and your well-being comes first. So, next time you’re feeling the aftermath of a wild night, maybe give the sauna a shot. Just remember to drink water, lots of it.

Or maybe just skip the alcohol consumption altogether?

DISCLAIMER: We are not medical professionals, nor do we claim to be. Always consult your doctor or a medical professional if you have pre-existing medical conditions or have concerns about your health.

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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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