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The Four Stages of Sauna Recuperation

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Don’t neglect your recuperation period. If doing a sauna at night, the full recuperation period includes the moment you exit the sauna for the last time until the next morning.

Stage 1: The first stage is to transition from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode. In other words, you transition from sweating to stop sweating. This takes a good 15 minutes. Think of that 15 minutes as the absolute minimum time you need to give yourself to recuperate. If you choose to ignore this period, get dressed and take off, you will regret it. The transition will take longer because you are rushing around, your clothes will be soaked with sweat and you will be annoyed thereby defeating many of the positive effects on what should be a pleasant, tranquil mood.

A roll in the snow, jump in a lake, or cold shower is often used during Stage 1. In addition to drinking water, fruit such as watermelon or pineapple are ecstasy during stage 1. I like watermelon best.

Stage 2: You stopped sweating and cooled off. Now get out of those wet clothes (if you were wearing any) and put on some loose fitting comfortable clothes. Be careful not to put too much on. Your system is very sensitive right now and can be easily triggered right back into sweat-mode.

Stage 3: Eat. You should have fasted an hour before sauna so at this point it is now two hours since your last meal. Additionally, one of the effects of activating the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system is that it induces your appetite for salt. Since you just engaged in a healthy, cardio-fat-burning activity, do yourself a favor and choose something that includes a low-fat protein and carb and add some vegetables. My favorite after-sauna meal is homemade chicken noodle soup and don’t forget the oyster crackers.

Stage 4: Sleep. After sauna, your body is primed for deep, heavy, restorative, psychedelic-dream-laden sleep. Don’t interrupt your trajectory into dream world with noxious late-night TV watching.

If you take care to follow these guidelines for sauna recuperation, you are guaranteed to wake up the next morning definitely feeling born again.

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4 thoughts on “The Four Stages of Sauna Recuperation”

  1. Stage 1: Important to allow for this time after sauna, and 15 minutes does seem about the right amount – yes, cold water rinse imperative.
    Stage 2: Even in Minnesota winter, we find it important to not bundle up after sauna.
    Stage 3: Looking forward to chicken soup. I e enjoyed a casual mix of: apples, sliced cheese, pretzels.
    Stage 4: Sauna fosters an all night sleep.

  2. I have a question regarding the recuperation period and wonder whether or not others have had a similar experience and can offer insights.

    Since building a sauna here at home and using it regularly over the past six months, I have noticed on many occasions that I will sweat during sleep at night, following an evening sauna. Not just a little sweat, either. I’ll wake up soaked.

    Obviously it’s linked to the sauna just a few hours before but the question is why? We always do a cold ice water plunge after each hot session and allow our bodies to readjust and never get dressed again, or go to bed until we are cool and dry.


  3. Wow! Interesting. You are benefitting from the complete cool down after every sauna round. So not sure what sort of release is happening for you.

    Keep in touch on this, and wishing you good sauna.

  4. I’m having the same experience as Luke. I took a week off and no night sweats. First time back, I woke up in a pool of sweat again (a lot).

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