After a big heavy meal, we’re often in the mood to sit lazy and ideal for some time. But what if you’ve just eaten and have a sauna appointment right after?
Or, you might have bought yourself a sauna blanket, and now, you can’t wait to try it, even if you’ve just had your lunch. What to do in such situations?
Even when we imagine jumping into the sauna with a full stomach, it doesn’t feel right, does it? Well, it’s because you shouldn’t sauna immediately after eating. So, how soon after eating can you sauna? Read on to find out!
Is It Okay To Go To Sauna After Eating?
To understand if it’s okay to sauna after eating, you must first understand how sauna affects our metabolism.
Digestion is not an easy process for a body to handle. It invests a lot of time and energy to break down the food that we eat. You might have noticed that your body often feels sluggish and dizzy after a big meal. It is an indication your digestive system is working rigorously.
Likewise, though the sauna feels relaxing and worth it afterward, it is quite a task for your body to handle. As the heat increases your body temperature, your body increases the blood flow to cool such areas.
Now, imagine you’re in the sauna room right after a heavy meal. Your body will be managing the digestive system and, at the same time, investing energy to manage the increase in the body temperature due to the sauna. It’s too much for your body to handle.
Going to a sauna after a big beal might result in a low blood supply to your brain resulting in light-headedness and rarely, can also lead to major complications. So, a sauna session right after a heavy meal is a big no-no.
Just as in the case of rigorous physical exercise, which isn’t recommended after a huge meal, a sauna session also requires energy and attention from the body. So, if you’ve just had your major meal of the day, giving yourself a rest before a sauna session is the best way to go.
How Soon After Eating Can You Sauna?
So, how long should one wait before they can sauna if they’ve just eaten heavy? As our body takes around two to five hours to empty our stomach, 2 hours is the minimum time you must wait before they partake in demanding physical activity, such as using a sauna.
However, remember that this is not the time required for our body to digest the food. In fact, it takes around 24 – 72 for food to pass through your digestive tract.
Is It A Good Idea To Sauna Hungry?
Just because you cannot sauna after eating a heavy meal, it doesn’t mean you visit the sauna on a hungry stomach.
As we’ve mentioned before, it takes energy for our body to cope up with our increasing body temperature.
Just as in the case when you’re too full, and your body is divided between investing its energy in the digestive system and helping your body cool, resulting in a lack of enough energy, a hungry stomach also results in similar consequences. You may feel dizzy and uncomfortable going sauna on an empty stomach.
What To Eat Before A Sauna Session?
So, we cannot eat a heavy meal and cannot skip a meal either before jumping into the sauna. Well, then, what’s the perfect balance? If you’re not hungry and not full either, that’s the perfect time for the sauna. But if you’re feeling hungry, grab a light and quick snack.
Eat yoghurt or some low-sugar fruit before sauna. Or, a small portion of light salad or low-fat soup is also a good idea.
What To Eat After A Sauna Session?
If you give your body a considerable amount of time to rest, you can get away with eating anything you like after a sauna. But if you’re feeling hungry right after, you might want to keep your snack light and nutritious.
Just as post-workout, you need to eat nutrition-dense and rich in electrolytes. Also, keep the snack low-fat as fats often take longer to digest. Yoghurt is one such excellent option as it contains calcium. Likewise, electrolytes-rich bananas and coconut water are also excellent choices for post-sauna food.
Or, just sprinkle some salt and lemon to avocado slices and relish them. Avocados have an impressively high amount of potassium. Or, just as in before the sauna meal plan, you can also grab a bowl of a low-sugar fruit salad. Watermelons are great options as it is hydrating and rich in potassium.
Remember that overeating after a sauna might also put pressure on your body, and you might end up feeling dizzy and nauseated. So, keep your portions small and nutritious.
6 Sauna Safety Tips
Now that we know that it is not safe to jump right into the sauna after a heavy meal, let’s look at a few other sauna safety tips, shall we?
Do not stay in the sauna for too long
Sauna duration of more than 20 minutes is not at all recommended. In fact, the duration of 10-15 minutes is considered optimal.
When you stay too long in the sauna, you might suffer from extreme dehydration, the symptoms of which include headache, dizziness, dry lips and eyes, and many more.
So, always remember to limit your sauna timing if you don’t want to deal with horrifying consequences after a good self-care session.
Remove any jewelry and accessories
Metals heat up fast. So, while it may not cause major burns on your skin, it can still cause irritations. Also, some metal jewelry, such as silver pieces, can tarnish when exposed to steam. So, remove all your jewelry items before you enter the sauna room.
Refrain from drinking alcohol the day you sauna
Alcohol causes dehydration. It can also lower your blood pressure, making you feel dizzy during the sauna. There’s also a possibility that you might faint as a consequence. So, drinking alcohol a day before, on the day, and the day after the sauna is a bad idea.
You must keep drinking fluid, but only the healthy and nutritious ones like water, tea, or low-sugar fruit juices.
Cool your body gradually
Sometimes, the sweaty body and extreme heat might tempt you to take a cold shower after your sauna session. However, that’s not a good idea. Exposing your body from extreme heat to direct extreme cold is not healthy.
After removing your sauna blanket or leaving the sauna room, give yourself a few minutes to rest. The surrounding air will help cool your body at a healthy rate. Only then should you head to the shower. Also, remember to start by wetting your feet first and not your head.
If You Have An Underlying Health Issue, Consult With A Doctor Beforehand
While the sauna is proven to have many health benefits and is considered safe, there are people with a certain health condition to whom saunas might cause more harm than good.
First of all, pregnant women must consult with their doctor to make sure if using a sauna is okay for them. Likewise, people with low blood pressure or chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease also need to consult with their doctors first regarding sauna use.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Sweating in a hot room for an extended time can take a toll on your body. So, to compensate for the water loss during the session, it is essential that you drink plenty of water.
And if you’re wondering when is the right time to drink water – before, after, or in between the sessions, we’d recommend you listen to your body. If you’re feeling thirsty, don’t make your body suffer for long, and drink water as soon as you get the opportunity.
You should at least drink a liter of water right after your sauna session. Or, a quick way to find out the required hydration for your body is to weigh yourself before and after the sauna session and drink water accordingly.
You can also opt for a cold low-sugar beverage if you’re not a big fan of drinking plain water. Your body also loses sodium, potassium, and other electrolytes in the process. So, you can also replace plain water with flavored electrolytes.
If you like pickle brine, that is also a great fluid option to compensate for the electrolytes lost during the seating session. It is free of fat and sugar, and also contains antioxidants and helps improve your gut health.
By now, you know that you must at least wait for two hours for your body to process food before you sauna. In addition to that, you know six more sauna safety tips, don’t you?
We’ve also given you a few food items that make the best pre-sauna and post-sauna snacks. So, when in doubt, choose any item off the list and enjoy it before or after your sauna session. Remember – the point is to keep the snack light and nutritious.