How To Track Time in the Sauna (9 Fun Ways to Time Yourself!)

You’ve probably heard that there are maximum amounts of time that you should stay in the sauna to be safe and responsible. But tracking time doesn’t have to be boring!

To time yourself in the sauna you can: use a fitness tracker, install a clock in the sauna, set an alarm, set the timer on the sauna, use a sand hourglass, create a playlist, listen to a guided meditation, and more! It’s important to track time to stay safe so you can slowly increase the length of your sessions. 

Read on to learn all about how long you should stay in each type of sauna, why it’s important to track time in the first place, and all our best tips for timing yourself.

Should you track time in the sauna?

Why should you have to worry about time when you’re trying to relax?

You should track time in the sauna to stay safe. If you stay in the sauna for too long you risk dehydration or heatstroke. In addition, it’s important to track time so you can slowly increase how long you’re in the sauna. The average sauna session for traditional saunas is 15 minutes; infrared saunas, 30 minutes; steam rooms, 15 minutes.

If you don’t know how long you’ve been in the sauna, you either will stay in too long or won’t stay in long enough to reap the benefits. In order to reach that sweet middle ground, you likely have to time yourself.

It also just isn’t worth the risk of hurting yourself to go without keeping track of time. Dehydration is no joke, and neither is heatstroke. 

How long should you stay in the traditional sauna?

So you’re a die-hard traditional sauna fan. Maybe you’ve always just gone in for however long feels good. But how long should you actually be in for?

You shouldn’t stay in the traditional sauna any longer than 10 minutes per session at 165°F. If you have more experience and the temperature is lower, it’s okay to spend up to 20 minutes inside. The average is 15 minutes.

When you’re just starting out, it’s best to start with just 5 minutes.

If you stay in for over 20 minutes, no matter how experienced you are, you risk “sweat lodge syndrome.”

While lots of people – including some manufacturers – say to stay in for as long as you feel comfortable, it can be hard to recognize if you start to feel dizzy or out of it. That’s why it’s best to err on the side of caution and stop after 20 minutes.

How long should you stay in an infrared sauna?

If you can’t stand the heat of a traditional sauna, infrared saunas are a great alternative. Plus you get to stay in longer!

You should stay in an infrared sauna for 30 minutes at a time. This will help you achieve benefits such as better circulation, increased metabolism, and stress reduction. If you’re new, start out with 5-minute sessions. Never stay in for longer than 45 minutes or you risk heat stroke and other health problems.

To get all the benefits of an infrared sauna, you should stay in for at least 20 minutes at 120°F. 

If you’re just looking to detox via sweat, most people start to sweat around the 8-minute mark.

How long should you stay in a steam room?

Some people just love the high humidity (100%!) of steam rooms.

You should stay in a steam room for 15 minutes each session. Start out with 5 minutes as a beginner but never exceed 20 – no matter your experience – because you will risk dehydration, fainting, heat stroke, and more. You need to stay in for at least 10 minutes to reap the benefits.

Staying in for at least 10 minutes will ensure that you not only relax but also get all of the benefits of the sauna, including:

  • When you sweat, harmful toxins are released.
  • Your metabolism speeds up to self-regulate.
  • You will have faster muscle recovery.
  • Your circulation will increase.

9 ways to track and time yourself in the sauna

Now that we’ve gone over how long you should stay in the sauna, let’s talk about how to keep track of that time!

Here are nine ways to track and time yourself in the sauna:

  • Use a fitness tracker
  • Install a clock in the sauna
  • Set an alarm
  • Set the timer on the sauna
  • Use a sand hourglass
  • Create a playlist
  • Listen to a guided meditation
  • Know when you start sweating
  • Have someone come get you

Let’s look into all of these methods in more detail.

Use a fitness tracker

Some fitness trackers like the WHOOP Band 4.0 are great for the sauna, while Samsung watches don’t hold up so well.

Be sure to do your research before hopping in the sauna with a fitness tracker.

Install a clock in the sauna

Don’t forget what time you got in and what time you want to jump out!

Make sure you get a clock that is specifically made for saunas or else it might end up not working correctly.

Set an alarm

Set the alarm on a watch (not a metal one, and one that can withstand the sauna!) or on your phone.

If you’re bringing your phone into the sauna:

  • Stay by the entrance where it’s a bit cooler
  • Keep your session brief
  • Wrap it in a towel to protect it from heat and humidity

Set the timer on the sauna

Some saunas have built-in timers that will turn off the heating mechanism after a certain amount of time.

They’re a surefire way to keep your sauna session exactly the length that you want it to be!

Sand hourglass

If you’re worried about burning or melting your usual timer (aka your phone), try an old-fashioned hourglass!

Make sure you keep your eye on the hourglass so you don’t stay in longer than you’d like.

Create a playlist

Make the playlist the length that you want to stay in the sauna. Handpick the music to curate the perfect sauna session- jazz, classical, and instrumental music all work well. Keep it lowkey!

Remember to follow the previously discussed phone precautions.

Listen to a guided meditation

Find a guided meditation that is the right length for your sauna session.

Meditating in the sauna is best kept to infrared saunas because of their lower temperatures and lack of humidity.

Know when you start sweating

Keep track of how long it takes you to start sweating. Time it a few times to see if it’s consistent.

If you consistently sweat after a certain amount of time, it’s fair to assume that much time has passed once you start sweating.

Have someone come get you

If you don’t have a timekeeper available, ask someone to let you know when your time is up.

Just make sure the person you choose is responsible and trustworthy!