There’s nothing better than sitting in a steamy sauna after a hard workout. It may not sound like the most ideal place to be after sweating profusely at the gym, but the additional steam and heat rejuvenate the parts of your body you’ve damaged, making repair go so much more smoothly.
But why do saunas make you feel tired? You may have noticed that you’re often very sleepy after exiting the sauna. In this blog, we’ll explore the five main reasons saunas give you a feeling of exhaustion, and then go over some things you need to watch out for. Feeling a little tired is natural, but feeling woozy or dizzy is dangerous.
There are some precautions necessary, but for the most part, enjoying a sauna is a safe, healthy way to relax after a stressful day or strenuous workout.
Why Do Saunas Make You Feel Tired? 5 Reasons Why
There are a number of reasons to the question of why do saunas make you feel tired.
- Saunas Are Relaxing
Unless you’re sincerely exhausted, sleep is not going to come naturally without extreme relaxation. Usually, 15 minutes in a sauna is enough to bring about that relaxed feeling.
The heat inside a sauna releases endorphins that are responsible for making the body feel good. It’s the most natural high there is. Endorphins are also known to clear your mind of any stressful emotions and thoughts you may be experiencing. Basically, in a sauna, you’re capable of just letting go.
Going in a sauna can also relax you physically as well, loosening tight muscles and helping to begin repair on the ones you’ve made microscopic tears in during your workout. If you really want to boost your relaxation factor in a sauna, try to combine it with some aromatherapy.
Lavender, chamomile, sandalwood and other essential oils have calming effects that, when blended with the heat in a sauna, will put both your mind and body at ease.
- Saunas Help With Thermoregulation
One of the key factors behind the sleeping pill-like effects of a sauna is how they help regulate your body’s natural thermoregulators. Your body’s core temperature rises and falls. It peaks around the early evening, after which it begins to drop. This is your body telling you it’s time to rest.
Getting into a sauna raises your body’s temperature, and getting out causes it to drop. This process mimics your body’s natural cycles, so your body will think it’s time to go to sleep and transmit that information.
This is why it’s often recommended to use a sauna before bedtime if you’re having sleeping issues. Spending 15 minutes in a sauna before bed will prepare your body to enter the appropriate state.
- Saunas Improve Blood Flow
Stress causes blood vessels to constrict, making it harder for the blood to pass through your body. In today’s busy world, many of us are living in a constant state of stress and anxiety most days. Add intense workouts to that and you’ve got a recipe for a coronary event.
Fortunately, a sauna can dilate those blood vessels. The warm water and steam in a sauna make your blood freer to flow, improving circulation. It also helps to remove harmful toxins from your bloodstream.
It’s also a crucial factor in allowing muscles to heal. It should be mentioned, however, that though it’s a necessary process, it’s not always an easy one. Repair takes its toll on the body too, so you’ll no doubt get exhausted.
- Saunas Can Dehydrate You
This is one of the more dangerous parts of sauna treatments. Being in an extremely hot room for a long period of time has the ability to dehydrate you. Your body essentially tries to fight the heat as it attempts to maintain its core temperature. You also lose water through sweat.
One of the side effects of dehydration is, naturally, exhaustion. So as you get dehydrated, you will start to feel more and more tired until you pass out. That’s when things get dangerous.
Fortunately, there are other warning signs that your body will send off when it’s time to leave the sauna. You should always keep some water to drink while you’re in there, but you’re still going to want to limit your time inside to no more than 20 minutes.
If you feel at all dizzy or woozy, that means it’s time to leave.
- It Matters What Time It Is
Frequently, a sauna is something people enjoy after the end of a hard day or an intense, stressful workout. In both of these cases, you’re likely to already be a little tired.
Working out is always going to exhaust the muscles in the body. Even if you’re doing it right after a great night’s sleep, you will feel some exhaustion afterward.
If you’re using a sauna at the end of the day, obviously, your body is already worn down from the day’s events. So when you use the sauna should always be taken into account.
Being tired after a sauna isn’t always a bad thing, however. Here’s how to react to your newfound exhaustion.
Embrace Being Tired
Those are the five main causes of sleepiness brought on by time spent inside a sauna. But, the phrasing of such a question suggests that there’s something wrong with feeling exhausted. There isn’t. It’s a natural part of living.
So embrace the sense of exhaustion that comes with enjoying a sauna. If you’re doing it in the evening, make it a part of your regular bedtime routine. If you’re doing it during the day after a workout, set some time aside to take a short nap afterward. Naps of 20 minutes or so are proven to help you stay more alert throughout the day.
The rest and relaxation that one gets from a sauna are scientifically proven. And in this busy, stress-filled world, perhaps we all need some time to clear our heads.