You’ve heard that you shouldn’t swim after eating, but what about using the sauna? Can you eat a big lunch and then sit in the sauna for 10 minutes before heading home from the gym or getting back to work?
If you have questions about sauna use and your eating schedule, keep reading. This guide will outline everything you need to know.
Can You Use the Sauna After Eating?
The answer to this question is, technically, yes.
You can use an infrared sauna after eating. However, this isn’t the best idea for most people. This is especially true when it comes to eating a full meal or eating right before you step into the sauna.
The primary risk of eating before sauna use (particularly if you don’t give yourself enough time to digest your food first) is that you may get dizzy or nauseated while sitting in a 100 to 150-degree box.
Think about what happens when you exercise on a full stomach. It typically doesn’t feel very good, does it? Using the sauna right after eating could lead to similar feelings (such as stomach cramps, nausea, dizziness, etc.).
How Long Should I Wait After Eating?
Okay, it’s not ideal to use the sauna right after eating. The good news, though, is that you also don’t need to fast for hours and hours before you use the sauna.
Most people find that they feel best if they wait 1.5 to 2 hours after their last meal. This gives them time to digest their food, but it also ensures they’re not too hungry.
Remember, sitting in the sauna on a completely empty stomach could be as problematic as using it on a full stomach.
If it’s been a long time since you last ate, your sauna session could also cause you to feel dizzy or lightheaded. This is especially true for those who are new to the sauna and are still adjusting to the high temperatures.
What to Eat Before and After Using the Sauna
You now know that you should eat — but not too soon — before your sauna session. However, you might be wondering what you should eat.
If you’re getting ready to go to the grocery store and are trying to make a plan for your meals and sauna use, these tips can help:
Before Using the Sauna
About 1.5 to 2 hours before you use the sauna, have a light meal to tide yourself over and ensure you don’t get lightheaded while you sweat. Simple meals like fruit and yogurt, oatmeal, or rice cakes with nut butter could all be good choices.
If you’re planning on exercising before or after your sauna session, these foods will also give you some extra energy to get through your workout. Carbohydrates are especially important for fueling your training, so don’t skimp on them in your pre-workout or pre-sauna meal.
After Using the Sauna
A light snack or small meal after using the sauna can also help to replenish your body after breaking a sweat and burning calories (remember, one sauna session can burn up to 600 calories).
Don’t head to the nearest fast-food drive-thru and inhale a container of French fries after you’re finished using the sauna. You don’t undo all your hard work with something high in fat and calories!
Fruit and vegetables are great options for a post-sauna meal because they naturally contain lots of water and can help you rehydrate. Melons, oranges, cucumbers, and celery are all excellent, water-rich choices.
You may also want a lightly salted (but not deep-fried) snack like pretzels or rice cakes. This will help you replace the sodium lost through your sweat.
Eating a protein source (jerky, chicken, eggs, a protein shake, etc.) after your sauna session is beneficial as well.
You eat protein after you exercise to support muscle repair and muscle-building processes, right? The same should apply after a sauna session (particularly if that sauna session followed an intense workout).
What to Drink After Sauna Use?
Perhaps even more important than what you eat after a sauna session is what you drink.
Even if you’re only in there for 10 minutes, sitting in a sauna causes you to sweat a great deal. This means you’re losing fluids and precious electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that help the body absorb fluids, prevent muscle cramps and fatigue, and balance pH levels.
Bare minimum, you should be drinking water after using the sauna. Some experts recommend two glasses before and two glasses after.
If you want to up the ante, you could also add some sliced fruit to your water or mix in an electrolyte powder. This enhances the water’s flavor, helps to prevent dehydration, and keeps you feeling energized as you go on with your day.
Go with Your Gut
Keep in mind that these recommendations are general guidelines for the average sauna user to follow.
If you find that you feel fine stepping into the sauna while fasted, go ahead and keep doing it. If you don’t experience any negative effects if you use the sauna right after eating, keep it up and do what works for you.
Everyone is unique, and some people are more sensitive to the effects of a sauna than others.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different foods, drinks, and pre- and post-sauna meal times to figure out the best approach for you. After all, the most important thing is that you’re consistent with your sauna usage.
Using a sauna is an effective way to support your health and level up your wellness routine. To see the best results, though, you need to make sure you’re fueling and hydrating your body properly.
Keep the tips listed above in mind so you can get the most out of your sauna sessions.
If you’re thinking about buying a sauna for your home, be sure to check out our collections. Sun Home Saunas offers a wide range of saunas, including infrared saunas and traditional saunas as well as infrared blankets.