Can You Lay Down in a Sauna? (5 Potential Benefits of a Longer Sauna)

Your sauna session is meant to be the pinnacle of relaxation, but it can get boring and tedious sitting on an uncomfortable bench. Is it possible to just lay down in the sauna?

If you prefer to lay down in the sauna, it’s possible as long as you do not fall asleep and use appropriate padding to avoid burning yourself. Laying down in the sauna can improve relaxation, improve heat distribution, reduce pressure on your spine, allow for better post-exercise cool down, and maybe even allow more people access to the sauna.

Read on to learn all about laying down in the sauna!

What is a lay down sauna?

Want to stretch out while you relax? Consider a lay-down sauna!

A lay-down sauna has a bench that is long enough to lay down on. It should be as long as your height plus a couple of feet for wiggle room. A 5’x6′ or 5’x7′ sauna is long enough to seat two or three people or for one person to lay down. Smaller sauna models are meant to be sat in. 

People swear by lay-down saunas for better relaxation, decreased muscle tension, and more. 

If you find yourself feeling restricted or claustrophobic by having to sit down in your sauna all the time, a lay-down sauna might be what you need!

Should you lay down in a sauna?

If you’ve never laid down in a sauna, it might seem intimidating at first. But it’s actually quite common.

Some people prefer sitting up in the sauna, while others prefer laying down. If you have the chance, you should try laying down in a sauna to see if you like it better. 

You might just find that you love laying down in the sauna!

Now let’s go over some different sauna types and how they relate to the topic of lay-down saunas.

Traditional dry sauna

You can definitely lay down in a traditional dry sauna.

Laying down in a traditional dry sauna will bring many benefits, such as even distribution of heat throughout the body and increased relaxation. Unless they are specifically built for a single person, most popular traditional dry sauna models are long enough to lay down in.

The North American Sauna Society recommends laying down to relax after using the sauna, too!

Infrared sauna

Did you know you can have a lay-down infrared sauna anywhere you want?

There are portable infrared saunas specifically designed to lay down in. Some of them are blankets that you can use in bed while others are pods for use on the floor.

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Steam room

If you prefer the humidity of a steam room, you will still reap the benefits of laying down.

Laying down in a steam room will bring a myriad of benefits, such as reduced muscle tension. There are portable lay-down steam rooms that you can use in your home. Portable lay-down steam rooms are most well known for their use by massage therapists.

Many massage therapists use portable lay-down steam rooms as part of their sessions. They are a great way to bring a more spa-like experience to a simple massage therapy session.

Potential benefits of using a lay down sauna

Lay-down saunas have many potential benefits over sitting in the sauna.

The stand-out potential benefits of using a lay-down sauna include:

  • Increased relaxation
  • Better cool-down post exercise
  • Ability to do yoga
  • Even heat distribution throughout the body
  • More people can fit

Let’s go over these potential benefits in more detail!

Increased relaxation

After a long day at work, you’re probably going to recline on the couch instead of sitting up straight. But why is that?

Laying down in the sauna is more relaxing than sitting up because fewer muscles are activated, inducing reduced muscle tension. There is also eight times less pressure on your spine when you lay down compared to when you sit up.

When you’re laying down, your body is more relaxed because your muscles aren’t working hard to keep you upright. When your body is more relaxed, you’re more relaxed as a result.

Better cool-down post exercise

Saunas can really help you recover post-exercise. Laying down has the potential to boost these benefits even more.

Laying down in a sauna can give you a better post-exercise cooldown because it stretches out your whole body.

Almost all athletes stretch after their workouts. In addition, most yoga sessions end in Shavasana, a laying down position. 

Being able to stretch out after you exercise is a great addition to your cool-down routine.

Ability to do yoga

If you love yoga, a lay-down sauna might be right for you.

Having a lay-down sauna gives you room to do yoga in the sauna. Your yoga should be geared towards stretching rather than exercising while in a sauna because your heart rate will already be increased. 

Doing yoga stretches in the heat will help you open up those poses even more and get the best out of your sauna- and yoga- session.

Just keep an eye on how hot or dehydrated you feel. Be sure to use gentle poses while in the sauna.

Even heat distribution throughout the body

Do you ever feel like some areas of your body get hotter than others while in the sauna? Laying down can help with that.

Laying down in a sauna creates an even heat distribution throughout the body because all of your body parts are level with each other.

Sometimes your legs might get toastier than your head while sitting down if they’re closer to the heater. But everything is on an equal playing field when you lay down, so the heat will hit all of your body evenly.

More people can fit

Lay down saunas double as saunas that can fit a lot of friends and family.

Lay-down saunas are bigger than smaller models, so they can fit more people.

With a lay down sauna, you have the choice to either splay out or share the space with others. It’s a win-win!

Potential problems with laying down in the sauna

As amazing as lay down saunas are, there are some hazards that you need to avoid.

Laying down in the sauna poses two main potential problems: an increased likelihood of falling asleep, and burning yourself on the bench. Falling asleep in the sauna is incredibly dangerous, so you should use a spotter, alarm, or timer while laying down in the sauna. You might have to lay down more than one towel to avoid getting burned on the bench.

Here are the two pitfalls of lay down saunas:

Falling asleep 

Every sauna-goer knows that falling asleep in the sauna is a cardinal sin.

Lay down saunas increase your likelihood of falling asleep because you are more relaxed and in a position that tells your body to fall asleep. It is very dangerous to fall asleep in the sauna because you can overheat and dehydrate.

People can get extremely ill if they fall asleep in the sauna for too long. Set a loud alarm, set a timer on your sauna, or have a spotter if you’re laying down in the sauna.

Burning yourself on the bench

Traditional dry saunas can get as hot as 175°F! That makes for quite the hot bench.

When using a lay down sauna, it is wise to use more than one towel to avoid burning yourself on the bench.

A surface that is 130°F can cause a second-degree burn. It’s vital to protect yourself from being exposed to your hot bench, especially for a period of time as long as a sauna session.