Do you suffer from sauna building wake up calls in the middle of the night?

Here are a few tips and realizations to help you get a good nights sleep during your sauna building process:

We all know how great it is to empower ourselves to undertake our own creative projects. Whether it’s building a birdhouse, or a backyard fence, or building your own sauna, our minds get churning with planning and our body gets moving with action. The balance of thinking and doing, planning and action, is a great antidote to such things as work stress, financial frustrations, or perhaps the occasional metal to metal temperature rising from living in close quarters with family (especially if the mash potatoes are cold).

Build your own sauna: owning the entire process

The list of building our own sauna benefits is a long one. Beyond the obvious, enjoying the “Finnish” product of our own health and wellness backyard retreat, another benefit of building our own sauna is the satisfaction rolling up our sleeves to create something with our own hands. Today, many of us have desk jobs where we may be behind a computer screen most of the day, or not working with our hands far from nature. In our world of specialization, many of us may be working on only one particular piece of a project, having no identity to the overall product or project. Example: “I only bring the stuff in, I don’t know where it goes, that’s his job over there.”

Beyond all that, when the weather is crappy, many of us may only go out to our backyards to bring out the garbage.

It’s totally reasonable to feel a bit uneasy about “owning” the entire sauna building process. If you wake up in the middle of the night wondering if you wired for your under bench lighting, remember how great it feels not to have to fill out a form to get accounting involved. You own it!

The iterative process of sauna building

One of the challenges of building our own sauna is that, unlike taking out the garbage, most of us are undertaking tasks that we may never have done before. Examples of this may include:

  • skim coating our hot room floor
  • building sauna benches
  • applying tongue and groove cedar

To tackle this, we can look to resources like the build your own sauna ebook, or a friend who has been down the sauna building path, or the search bar on this website. (insert arrow to the upper right). These “lifelines” help us close the gap and gain an understanding of building tasks with which we are unfamiliar.

It is totally reasonable to feel a bit uneasy about tackling aspects to our build which we have never done before. If you wake up in the middle of the night wondering how you’re going to skim coat your hot room floor, remember that many have done this before you, and you can do it too.

Don’t to paint yourself in the sauna building corner

A key way to build our own saunas is to plan each task sequentially, and then tackle each task one at a time, in order. For example, we want to wire everything before we insulate. Then we want to foil vapor barrier before we tongue and groove. These three tasks are logical. But there are tricks along the way to help us avoid “painting ourselves in the corner.” An example of this is drip edge.

After insulating and applying foil vapor barrier to our saunas, we then want to apply drip edge all the way around where walls meets the floor. This allows us to either work on our floor, or work on our walls, independent of each other. In this example, it’s probably better to work on paneling our ceiling and walls, then our floors. This way we can work without concern of messing up our finished floors.

It’s totally reasonable to question the order of our tasks. If you wake up in the middle of the night wondering if you’re painting yourself in the sauna building corner, remember that you’re doing your tasks in a logical order..

Field verification

One of the greatest attributes for the casual sauna builder is understanding how much we can decide “on the fly.” It’s easy to get caught up in architectural drawings. Yet it’s a lot easier to, for example, frame up your sauna walls, and then consider the best place for a candle window. A cardboard box (perhaps from Green Bay Packaging), a pencil, and a cold beer is all you need to figure the best location for your candle window. Then “hold this honey” and zip zip with the sawzall. Voila. Cut out for your candle window. Until you live it, you won’t know it.

It’s totally reasonable to feel uneasy about where things are going to go. If you wake up in the middle of the night worried about window placements and other decisions, remember that when you field verify your work, you’re much more likely to make the right decision.

If you’re waking up in the middle of the night during your sauna build: congratulations! This is good suffering. This is good pain. You are invested in your sauna, and you’re going to make a really good sauna because of it.

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3 thoughts on “Do you suffer from sauna building wake up calls in the middle of the night?”

  1. Thank you, Glenn. I can really appreciate this article to put it mildly.

    I decided that I would like a sauna about 30 years ago. I had moved from Minneapolis to Ely to attend Vermillion Community College. While there, I discovered the public sauna. It didn’t change my life, it saved it. Those Ely winters are long. I would never forget how amazing that experience was. It went straight on my bucket list.

    Many, many years would pass and every once in a while I would get the itch. I downloaded diagrams and drawings and articles. I bought Glenn’s ebook. I measured my property and stared at my garage. For me it all had to start with buying the stove and I was never in a position to do that.

    In the fall of 2019, I sold my house and bought another one with the explicit idea that I would build that sauna. I bought the stove. So cool. And then I joined the army of sauna building warriors. I spent an ineffable amount of time training for each next step whether at work or at home or standing in line at a big box store. This process has coalesced into a full blown spiritual experience.

    As I sit here in this moment, I have just finished up (no pun intended) my first sauna.


    Thank you, Glenn. Thanks for your wisdom, book and blog. Thanks to everyone who builds and/or enjoys sauna. Thanks to each member of this community for asking questions and putting in your few cents.

    Happy face!

    Joel D

  2. It’s no coincidence that this article will be my first post on the site.

    As we’re all aware, 2020 has posed its fair share of challenges and at times there seemed like few bright spots to look forward to. Enter – dreaming (literally) of building a sauna.

    I’ve been blessed (cursed) with the ability to visualize 3-dimensional problems, sometimes to the point where I can’t stop picking away at a problem in my mind. This has served me well thus far in my profession as a design engineer for heavy machinery.

    The planning process for my dream sauna has so far not been any different, I picture it over and over! Great article, many valid points.


  3. I thought sauna wakeups in the middle of the night was ridiculous. But in fact, they are a real thing. Right before Thanksgiving we got rid of our hottub and decided to build a sauna. I had several of these middle of the night wakeups, but the book saved me. Not only did it help guide me, but helped cure middle of the night insomnia.
    I am happy to say that the week before Christmas we completed our build, and have enjoyed several sauna sessions so far. Your book proved to be invaluable in our adventure. Thank you.
    I’d love to share our build story with pics with you.

    Merry Christmas!

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