While many people swear a sauna is good for a hangover, the medical advice is – it’s not a good idea. A good sauna session will detox the body, increase heart rate, and boost the immune system. But it could also trigger some serious complications when hungover. Therefore, it’s best to avoid one if you’re hungover.
Can You Sweat Out a Hangover in a Sauna?
Sauna fans around the world have been using sauna to ease their hangovers for years. They claim a sauna will help you sweat out the worst of the effects, relax the body, and boost the immune system.
Can sauna cure a hangover? While the health benefits of sauna are well documented, is not considered a good idea to sauna when you are hungover.
The intense heat of a sauna places stress on the body – and this can cause problems when the body is already trying to cope with the effects of a hangover. Hydration levels, blood pressure, and heart rate can be negatively affected.
Is It Safe to Sauna While Hungover?
The professional medical advice is to avoid sauna if you are hungover. Your body is already under stress trying to cope with the ill effects of the hangover and you shouldn’t stress it further by jumping into a sauna.
Although a sauna may ease some of the symptoms of a hangover there are also several health concerns. Some of these concerns are potentially dangerous and therefore the professional medical consensus is to avoid sauna when hungover.
What Can Go Wrong?
The toxins present in your body during a hangover can affect the way the heart works. They can disrupt the normal rhythm the heart should beat at.
A cardiac arrhythmia occurs when there is a problem with the electrical signals controlling the heart. When you couple this with the heat of a sauna it increases the strain on the cardiovascular system. Anyone with experience of cardiac arrhythmia should avoid the sauna when hungover.
A good sauna heat session will stimulate the heart to work harder and increase blood flow throughout the body. This can cause a rise in blood pressure. An increase in blood pressure is best avoided if you are suffering a hangover.
Alcohol dehydrates the body. And spending time in a sauna will dehydrate you further. When you put the two of these together you could really suffer some serious dehydration. You should only sauna when you are properly hydrated.
Fainting is a real risk if you take a sauna when you are hungover. Changes in blood pressure, dehydration, cardiac arrhythmia, and intense heat can all combine to increase your chances of fainting.
The chances of having a minor accident in a sauna increase when you are hungover. Research from Finland has shown that accidents such as sprains, burns, head contusions, and heat stroke occur more frequently when alcohol has been consumed.
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What is a Hangover?
Let’s take a look at what a hangover is and how it affects the body. What exactly happens to us during a hangover?
A hangover is a range of unpleasant symptoms that develop when someone consumes too much alcohol. They begin to kick in when the blood alcohol levels begin to drop significantly.
They usually arrive in the morning, an unwelcome visitor, following a night of alcohol consumption. Although they can be a very unpleasant experience they typically fade away in about 24 hours.
Symptoms of a Hangover
- Poor Sleep
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Poor Concentration
- Excessive Thirst
What Causes a Hangover?
Hangovers are caused as a direct result of drinking too much alcohol. The amount of alcohol needed to trigger a hangover varies greatly from one person to the next.
A hangover is caused when any of the following takes place as a result of drinking alcohol – dehydration, immune response and inflammation, irritation of the stomach lining, lowered blood sugar levels, disrupted sleep, dilated blood vessels, and heart arrhythmia.
Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body as it increases urine production. This triggers thirst, dizziness, and fatigue. You should never sauna when you’re dehydrated.
Alcohol stimulates an immune response that causes inflammation in the body. This leads to an inability to concentrate, memory problems, and a decreased appetite.
The production of stomach acid increases when alcohol is consumed. This can cause nausea, stomach pains, and even vomiting.
Blood Sugar Levels
Alcohol consumption can lead to a reduction in blood sugar levels. This can lead to fatigue, weakness, and irritability.
Sleep patterns and quality of sleep are affected by alcohol. It severely limits your ability to get deep restful sleep. This can cause fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
Dilated Blood Vessels
Alcohol causes your blood vessels to expand. One of the common side effects of this is the all too familiar hangover headache.
Alcohol and hangovers can lead to cardiac arrhythmia. This is a problem with heart rhythm and happens when the electrical impulses to the heart don’t work properly. Taking a sauna when hungover can further complicate this symptom.
Why Is It So Popular?
Okay, now that we know taking a sauna is a good idea when hungover – let’s look at why so many people say it is a great way to cure a hangover.
Sauna is a great way to detox the body. As you begin to heat up and sweat, the body flushes out toxins. This may help rid the body of toxins that have accumulated as a result of the hangover.
Relaxation & Stress Relief
A hangover can be s stressful experience. Not only do you feel terrible but it can trigger anxiety and depression in some. Sauna is a great way to relax the body and calm the mind.
Not only does a sauna session relax the mind and body – it can lead to a better night’s sleep. Disrupted sleep is a common complaint of hangover sufferers.
A relaxing sauna session can help relieve headaches. Research from New Zealand has shown that headache intensity can be reduced with regular sauna therapy.
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Popular Hangover Cures
Okay, so you’ve decided to give the sauna a skip. So, what else can you try to get some relief from your nightmare hangover? Here are some of the most popular hangover remedies…
Most of us reach for some comfort food when feeling under the weather – and this is no different for a hangover. Many like to try a greasy breakfast or maybe something sweet. But replacing lost salt and sugars can help.
Fizzy drinks like Gatorade can help quench the thirst and get the blood sugar levels back up again. A few sips can have you feeling better and but some bounce back in your step.
Aspirin and paracetamol are popular choices for those feeling a bit rough after a night of heavy drinking.
This one is not for the faint-hearted. The prairie oyster is a cocktail of tomato juice, tabasco sauce, worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, and a raw egg.
Can You Go in a Sauna after Drinking Alcohol?
You should avoid a sauna if you have recently drunk alcohol, are drinking alcohol, or are suffering a hangover from alcohol. The combination of the heat from the sauna and the effects of alcohol on the body can cause serious health complications.
How Does Infrared Sauna Affect a Hangover?
An infrared sauna will affect a hangover and your body in the same way as a traditional sauna. It will heat the body, raise core body temperature and trigger a range of physiological events including sweating and increased heart rate. An infrared sauna should be avoided if you are hungover.
Can I Sweat out a Hangover?
No, a sauna should be avoided during a hangover. It will place unnecessary strain on the body while it is already trying to cope with the ill effects of a hangover. You should avoid the sauna until you have fully recovered from your hangover. Sauna is not advised for alcohol detox.
How Can I Avoid a Hangover?
The medical advice on this one is to avoid alcohol completely. That’s the best way to avoid a hangover. However, if you are determined to have a drink – make sure you eat something beforehand and limit your drinks to what you know you can handle.
What About Sauna Post Hangover?
Sauna post hangover is fine. Once you have recovered from your hangover you can return to your sauna routine as normal. Most hangovers pass in 24 hours.