The sauna has been known for centuries for its beneficial effects on the body. But how does the sauna affect our body and mind, and why might it affect the quality of our sleep?
Mechanism of sauna’s effect on sleep
First of all, saunas help relax muscles. The high temperature experienced in the sauna leads to the relaxation of tense muscles and joints. This is extremely beneficial, especially after an intense day of work or exercise, when muscles are tense and tired. Muscle relaxation helps calm the body and prepares it for rest.
In addition, the sauna improves blood circulation. The hot air dilates blood vessels, which facilitates blood flow and oxygenation of cells. This, in turn, can negate headaches and fatigue, while promoting recovery.
The sauna’s effect on sleep is a direct result of these effects. Muscle relaxation and improved circulation create ideal conditions for deep and healthy sleep. The sauna acts as a kind of “reset” for the body, helping it to relax and calm down before bedtime. Calming the body and mind in the sauna can contribute to better sleep and more restful, renewed sleep.
A study conducted on a group of regular sauna users showed improved sleep quality. Participants noticed deeper and more restful sleep, as well as easier falling asleep. Researchers pointed to the effect of muscle relaxation and improved circulation as key factors.
However, it is worth remembering that using a sauna requires certain precautions. It is not recommended for people with certain medical conditions, and staying too long in high temperatures can lead to dehydration. It is always a good idea to consult your doctor before incorporating regular sauna visits into your lifestyle.
Recommendations and guidance
Using a sauna to improve the quality of sleep can be effective, but it requires following certain rules and considering individual needs.
- Optimal temperature: Not everyone tolerates extreme temperatures well. It is advisable to start with a moderate temperature and then gradually increase it, if your body allows it. The ideal temperature can range from 70 to 90 degrees Celsius.
- Time spent in the sauna: Spending too long in the sauna can lead to the opposite effect and cause overheating. The recommended time is 15-20 minutes, with several cycles possible, with breaks to cool down.
- Proper hydration: Remember to properly hydrate your body before and after your sauna visit, as sweating leads to fluid loss.
- Time before bed: Using the sauna too close before going to bed may be contraindicated. Give your body time to cool down – at least an hour before bedtime.
- Potential contraindications: Sauna is not suitable for everyone. People with certain cardiovascular or skin conditions, or who are pregnant, should avoid the sauna or consult a doctor before using it.
- Warnings: Do not use a sauna if you are very tired, in pain, or not feeling well. In these cases, the sauna may not only fail to help you sleep, but may even harm you.
Keeping these recommendations and tips in mind, the sauna can become a valuable tool in improving the quality of sleep. However, it is important to approach it with moderation and awareness of your own body, paying attention to possible warning signs.
Using calming herbs and essential oils in the sauna
Various essential oils as well as herbs can be used in the sauna to increase the effects of relaxation and improve sleep. Lavender, mint, eucalyptus or lemon balm are just some of the oils that have a calming effect on the mind and body.
As for the use of essential oils in the sauna, it is a good idea to add them to the water that is poured over the hot stones. In this way, the oils spread in the air and their aromatic properties work on the senses. It is important to use high-quality oils and not to overdo the amount, as too intense a fragrance can act as an irritant.
In the case of herbs such as valerian, ginkgo or St. John’s wort, they can be used in the form of infusions or added directly to the sauna water. Valerian, for example, is known for its calming and relaxing effects, which can significantly improve sleep quality. By regularly using herbs and essential oils in the sauna, we can not only increase the effectiveness of our sauna sessions, but also fight sleep problems more effectively.