Saunaing may help you sleep better.
There’s not much scientific study on infrared saunas and sleep – yet. Anecdotal evidence often points to possibility and creates the need to learn more. In recent years, we began seeing a pattern of feedback from people noticing an effect on their sleep after they began saunaing. We asked our Sunlighten Community who experienced improvements in their sleep: 70% of those who responded said they had. Not everyone does, and the reasons for that are varied. For those who have, we found their experience compelling enough to share.
Resolving sleep issues is complex.
Our bodies regulate sleep through a complicated chemical process managed by our brain, activated by our circadian rhythm and sleep drive. When that process is disrupted, there are a lot of variables to consider and evaluate, including activity patterns; health issues like stress, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, depression, menopause, diabetes, etc.; and sleep hygiene factors such as room temperature, light reduction, regular bedtimes and wake times, etc.
Morning sauna may help promote sleep drive.
Sleep drive (or “sleep pressure”) makes you sleepy and deepens your sleep. Your sleep pressure is governed by levels of adenosine, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Being active during the day is important to creating sleep drive in your body. Saunaing in the morning can energize the body for more activity that will create a better sleep drive. The passive cardio activity started by a sauna session also stimulates circulation similar to exercise, giving you one more tool to help your body be active without the physical demands of exercise.
Saunaing before bed may help sleep.
Circadian rhythm (your body’s 24-hour clock) affects sleep by helping signal the body to produce melatonin. Lowering core body temperature is one of the many cues to begin that process at night. A hot bath or infrared sauna before bed can result in lowering overall body temperature. Bringing heat to the surface of your skin can help lower it as you cool down. It also can decrease cortisol levels created by daily stress and induce relaxation which also aids sleep.
Infrared creates a biochemical cascade of benefits.
Lack of sleep can increase inflammation,1 cravings, insulin resistance,2 weight gain,3 heart disease,4 impair immune function, decrease mental health,5 accelerate aging,6 and reduce muscle recovery.7
Infrared sauna therapy enhances detox pathways8, increases circulation9 and improves mitochondria function,10 all of which help the whole body work better and thus help sleep, too.
Which sauna is right for me?
Choosing a sauna to add to your wellness routine means looking at your lifestyle and your health goals to find the sauna that will be the best fit. We'd love to help you do that! Whether it's relaxation you’re craving or deep detoxification, Sunlighten infrared saunas will help you achieve your wellness desires. From weight loss to muscle recovery and skin rejuvenation, our patented infrared technology will restore your body and your mind. Select your health benefit need(s) and how many people you want room for in your sauna to learn which options are best for you.
6 min read
Be encouraged: the cardio benefits of infrared saunas offer a form of heart exercise.
Saunaing actually offers a real solution to getting your heart working without demanding physical strain. Studies support the value of a sauna session as a form of cardiovascular exercise that we call “passive cardio” because it allows you to sit back and relax while your heart gets pumping.
- Mullington, J. M., Simpson, N. S., Meier-Ewert, H. K. & Haack, M. Sleep loss and inflammation. Best Practice and Research: Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism vol. 24 775–784 (2010).
- Donga, E. et al. A single night of partial sleep deprivation induces insulin resistance in multiple metabolic pathways in healthy subjects. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 95, 2963–2968 (2010).
- Gangwisch, J. E., Malaspina, D., Boden-Albala, B. & Heymsfield, S. B. Inadequate sleep as a risk factor for obesity: Analyses of the NHANES I. Sleep 28, 1289–1296 (2005).
- Yuan, R., Wang, J. & Guo, L. li. The Effect of Sleep Deprivation on Coronary Heart Disease. Chinese Medical Sciences Journal vol. 31 247–253 (2016).
- Waters, F., Chiu, V., Atkinson, A. & Blom, J. D. Severe sleep deprivation causes hallucinations and a gradual progression toward psychosis with increasing time awake. Frontiers in Psychiatry vol. 9 (2018).
- Teo, J. X. et al. Digital phenotyping by consumer wearables identifies sleep-associated markers of cardiovascular disease risk and biological aging. Commun. Biol. 2, (2019).
- Dattilo M, Antunes HK, Medeiros A, Mônico Neto M, Souza HS, Tufik S, de Mello MT. Sleep and muscle recovery: endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis. Med Hypotheses. 2011 Aug;77(Epub 2011 May 7. PMID: 21550729.
- Sears ME, Kerr KJ, Bray RI. Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat: a systematic review. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:184745. doi: 10.1155/2012/184745. Epub 2012 Feb 22. PMID: 22505948; PMCID: PMC3312275.
- A Study of the Health Benefits of Far Infrared Sauna Therapy, conducted by the University of Missouri, Kansas City Becky Edwards, M.D., Heather Kort D.O Faculty Staff Advisor: Dr. John Foxworth, PharmD Purpose
- Hamblin MR. Mechanisms and Mitochondrial Redox Signaling in Photobiomodulation. Photochem Photobiol. 2018;94(2):199-212. doi:10.1111/php.12864