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Are you someone who loves to indulge in the relaxing goodness of infrared saunas? Then, you must already know that staying hydrated during and after your sauna session is essential. Dehydration is a common concern for sauna-goers due to fluids lost during sweating.
But how much water should you drink after a sauna session to replenish your body? In this article, we'll dive into the details and provide you with helpful tips to ensure that you stay hydrated and healthy. So, let's get started and explore the science behind staying hydrated after a sauna session!
What is the Best Drink for Rehydration After your Sauna Sessions?
After your infrared sauna sessions, it's important to rehydrate your body as soon as possible. With all the sweating you just did from the hot sauna, you've lost a significant amount of fluids. Here is our list of the most hydrating drinks post-sauna bath:
Sports Drinks (such as Gatorade)
Fruit Infused Water
100% Fruit Juice
These beverages are formulated to replenish hydration and replace crucial minerals lost through sweating to help your body recover more quickly. So, whether you prefer to chug a glass of water or sip on some Gatorade, just make sure to prioritise sauna hydration to feel your best post-session. Let's take a closer look at why we've chosen these 7 post-sauna drinks.
Drinking Water: How Much Should I Drink Post-Sauna?
Water is our number one pick for numerous reasons, and you should aim to drink about 1.5 times the amount of water you've lost while sweating in your sauna. To estimate the amount of water lost, weigh yourself before and after sauna bathing. Water is easy to consume and free – after all, our bodies are made up of 60% water.
It is important to drink water because it helps the body perform key functions including cell strengthening, facilitating blood flow, eliminating wastes, regulating body temperature, moisturising mucous membranes, lubricating joints, preventing UTIs, aiding digestion, maintaining skin moisture, and transporting nutrients.
According to the Victorian Government, on average to maintain proper body fluids and prevent dehydration, it is recommended that women drink around 8 cups of water per day, while men should aim for 10 cups.
Sports Drinks: Can you Drink Gatorade in the Sauna?
Yes, sports drinks – such as Gatorade – containing electrolytes can be helpful for proper hydration during and after your sauna session as they restore glucose, fluids, and electrolytes lost during the activity.
Drinking Gatorade can improve hydration as it contains specific sugars and electrolytes that get absorbed quickly. Gatorade can replenish the lost sodium, potassium, and chloride caused by sweating during exercise, which helps to maintain a healthy body. Nonetheless, be mindful of the sugar and carb content in these drinks.
Milk: The Surprising Nutritional Hydrating Drink Post-Sauna
The nutrients found in milk can help slow down the process of your stomach emptying and keep your body hydrated. Additionally, the sodium present in milk helps in retaining water by decreasing urine production.
This is quite similar to how oral rehydration solutions function to treat diarrhoea as they include sodium, sugar and potassium to maintain the hydration level of the body. A 2015 study found milk to be as hydrating as an oral hydration solution! While dairy may not be your cup of tea, milk seemingly is a popular choice of rehydration drink over both water and sports drinks.
Fruit-infused Water: A Fan Favourite
Drinking fruit-infused water is a great way to stay hydrated because it contains electrolytes, minerals, and many health benefits.
These benefits include increased energy, improved function of the immune system and brain, prevention and treatment of headaches, maintenance of healthy blood pressure, support for weight loss, improved oxygen delivery, detoxification, and enhanced physical performance.
What makes fruit-infused water great for post-sauna hydration is the combination of affordability and accessibility, flavour and benefits!
Studies have shown that drinking moderate amounts of both herbal and caffeinated teas can hydrate the body just as effectively as water. There is no significant difference in hydration markers between tea and water. Even if tea makes you produce more urine, you won't have more fluids lost than you consumed.
Coconut Water: A Tasty Alternative
The clear liquid found inside coconuts, known as coconut water, contains electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and manganese which can help to keep one hydrated.
Coconut water has fewer calories and less sugar than many other drinks, making it a safe choice for occasional consumption. Even though it can be compared to sports drinks, plain water is still the most hydrating choice.
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But watch out for added sugar, as it can reduce the benefits of the juice. The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests eating 2 cups of fruit daily, with one cup being equal to 235ml of juice.
After a sauna session, it is important to remember to rehydrate with one of the drinks mentioned above to replenish lost electrolytes and minerals. This not only makes you feel better but also helps in keeping you healthy.
Now let's move to take a look at if the sauna can hydrate you. After all, if we want to reap the benefits of infrared saunas, we should know what to expect from them and how they work.
How Much Should I Rehydrate After Sauna?
Firstly, it's recommended to drink at least 350ml of water during thirty minutes of a regular sauna. This will help replace some of the fluids lost while sweating.
To properly rehydrate after your session, try to drink approximately 1.5 times the amount of water you lost through sweating. To determine the amount lost, weigh yourself before and after using the sauna. For every kilogram lost, consume roughly 1.5 litres of water to replace it. If you prefer, you can drink electrolytes before, during and after the sauna experience as a part of your hydration method.
To replenish fluids lost after sauna bathing, you can opt for food with high water content like watermelon, cucumber and grapes. You can also have soup and broths that are easy to digest and contain both water and electrolytes.
Does a Sauna Help with Hydration?
If you're a sauna lover, you may be wondering if the heat and sweat from being in a sauna affect your hydration levels. After all, sweating causes you to lose fluids, which can lead to dehydration if your body is losing more fluid than it's taking in.
In this section, we'll explore the question of whether or not a sauna room helps with hydration to give you a firmer understanding of what happens to your body in a sauna experience and how you can support your hydration while enjoying your favourite relaxation ritual.
How are Fluids Lost in a Sauna?
Firstly, let's talk about how your body loses fluids while in a sauna. When you're in a sauna, your body temperature rises, and your sweating mechanism kicks in to cool you down. You sweat profusely, and after a while, your body will lose enough fluid to cause a noticeable effect on your hydration levels.
This is why it's important to drink plenty of water before and after being in a sauna. However, drinking water alone may not be enough, as sweating also causes you to lose electrolytes, which are important for proper hydration.
Studies have shown that heat exposure, such as a sauna experience, can increase blood flow to organs such as the liver and kidneys, encouraging tissues to release excess water.
This process is called osmotic diuresis and can be beneficial for people with conditions such as oedema or water retention. However, it's important to note that this process is not the same as proper hydration from drinking enough fluids.
While it's true that being in sauna rooms can cause fluids lost and therefore lead to dehydration, there are still health benefits of sauna use.
Saunas have been shown to boost the immune system, reduce stress and inflammation, and even improve cardiovascular health.
Do You Need Electrolytes After Sauna?
To stay properly hydrated, it's important to remember that electrolytes are essential, especially when using a sauna as it can cause you to lose them through sweat. To replenish electrolytes, try eating foods like:
and leafy greens
You could also take an electrolyte supplement, especially if you regularly have a sauna experience for a long time.
What Minerals Are Lost in Sauna?
Excessive sweating in a sauna can cause you to lose important minerals that are necessary for your body to function properly. minerals that are lost during a good sauna session include:
Sodium: Moderation is key when it comes to sodium intake, as it both regulates fluid balance and aids in hydration by retaining water and preventing excessive fluid loss. However, consuming too much sodium can lead to dehydration.
Potassium: Potassium is an electrolyte that collaborates with sodium in tasks such as regulating cellular water levels, maintaining fluid balance, and supporting muscle and nerve function. To ensure proper hydration and avoid electrolyte imbalances, it is essential to consume enough potassium.
Magnesium: Magnesium is important for regulating the movement of water in and out of cells. It is also involved in creating energy, supporting muscle function, and transmitting nerve impulses. A magnesium deficiency can result in dehydration, muscle cramps, and fatigue.
Iron: Having enough iron in your body is important for the production of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen in your red blood cells. This helps to maintain healthy blood and transport oxygen throughout your body, thereby indirectly promoting proper cellular function and hydration.
Maintaining a balanced intake of vital minerals including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and iron, is essential for overall health and hydration. It is important to not only rehydrate with water but to replenish these vital nutrients post-sauna experience. Let's take a closer look at one of these important minerals.
Does Sauna Deplete Potassium?
Yes, saunas can cause a decrease in potassium levels. Therefore, it's crucial to keep an eye on and restore your potassium levels after your sweat session. Potassium is essential in muscle function, nerve signal transmission, and heart function.
Our body keeps the level of potassium in a tight control range, meaning an excess or deficiency can cause unwanted side effects. Sweating in a sauna can lead to potassium depletion, combined with other factors such as caffeine and low potassium intake.
The concentration of potassium in sweat is about 54 mg/L, which is much lower than the normal concentration of 3.5-5 mmol/L in the bloodstream.
When we become dehydrated through sweating, we lose multiple electrolytes, but it's especially important to keep an eye on our potassium levels. While sweating in a sauna can lead to potassium depletion, the benefits of sauna use hugely outweigh these risks.
What Happens if You Don't Drink Water After Sauna?
Dehydration is the key risk to the body if you do not drink sufficient water before, during and after your hot sauna. When you're in a sauna, your body automatically starts to sweat as a mechanism to cool itself down.
Sweating, however, means that you're losing water and electrolytes, which are essential for the optimal functioning of your body. Therefore, if you don't drink water to replenish the lost fluids, you're putting yourself at risk of dehydration.
It's crucial to remember that even a loss of just 2% of the body's water content can lead to a significant reduction in physical capacity.
Symptoms of Sauna-induced Dehydration
Dehydration from sauna use can cause symptoms like weakness, fatigue, and dizziness, and negatively affect your exercise performance. This can make it difficult to push yourself during your workout. Additionally, dehydration can lead to health issues such as muscle cramps, kidney stones, and chronic fatigue.
It's important to drink plenty of fluids after using a sauna to rehydrate your body. You can also replenish electrolytes lost by drinking sports drinks that contain sodium and potassium. Combining the intake of water and electrolytes will help restore your body balance and help prevent any adverse effects from dehydration.
Is it Generally Better to Drink Water Before or After a Sauna Session?
To avoid dehydration during your sauna experience, it's best to drink water before, during, and after. Although some sauna traditionalists advise against drinking water during the session because it may disrupt the body's natural detox process, there is no scientific evidence to support this belief.
To have a relaxing experience during your infrared sauna sessions, it's important to always stay hydrated before, during, and after with proper preparation.
You have many options for keeping hydrated; consider drinking water, tea, coconut water, milk, sports drinks, fruit juice, or fruit-infused water. Each type of drink has unique benefits and nutritional properties to make sure to prepare your sauna properly – cheers to staying hydrated!