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Preparing For the Holidays: Alcohol Consumption & Sauna Use

As the holiday season draws near, for numerous people, this signifies an increase in alcohol intake. If you are planning to sauna throughout the holidays and partake in holiday liquor and food-rich cheer, there are a few things to know to help you navigate this time of year successfully, while still maintaining your sauna protocol. 

You can enjoy the holiday toasts of alcoholic beverages and continue to benefit from regular sauna use as long as you do so with a few extra precautions.  Sauna and alcohol use do not mix, and preparing to use your sauna at specific times of the day will help ensure that these activities are never wedded.

By following the basic protocol below you can help offset some of the negative effects of hangovers, holiday weight gain and, most importantly, stay safe!

Alcohol and Sauna Use During The Holiday Season

  • Never Mix Alcohol Consumption and Sauna Use (before or during a sauna session)
  • Be Diligent in Hydration if you Choose to Sauna During the Same 24 Hours as Alcohol Consumption Occurs
  • Schedule Sauna Use During the Holidays
  • Detoxify From Sauna Use & Post Sauna Cleansing
  • Limit Holiday Weight Gain 

For many people an increase in alcohol consumption over the holidays is a natural part of this time of the year. From eggnog to hot toddies, the holiday season brings with it many opportunities to consume alcohol-based beverages. It is important to remember that while sauna use is safe for most people most of the time, one exception to this rule is this: Never Drink and Sauna!

Do Not Use a Sauna After or During Alcohol Consumption

Sauna use has so many health benefits under a wider variety of circumstances and may aid in a plethora of health related issues, however, the one time you should definitely NOT sauna is after or during alcohol consumption. If you have been drinking it is best to sleep for the night and wake up the next morning to sauna once the alcohol has been metabolized through your body’s system.

Alcohol impacts motor skills and decision making, therefore, similar to driving a vehicle, if you plan to drink, make sure you do not drive or sauna! 

Not only does alcohol impair autonomic functions of the body and fine motor skills, it also dehydrates the body. This fact becomes confusing because most folks ingest alcohol via fluids, so even when it feels like you are drinking plenty, these drinks are not hydrating the body. The high sugar content of alcohol affects the body’s ability to metabolize fluids as positive hydration. Expect that every time you consume alcohol, especially in higher quantities, that your body will be at a hydration deficit if you then add sauna use in the mix it is possible to become dangerously dehydrated.

Dehydration From Alcohol & Sauna Use: A Dangerous Combination

During a sauna session you will lose roughly 16 ounces of fluid for every 10 minutes that you sit in a sauna, or about a pint of fluid for every sauna session, though this amount does vary from individual to individual. (1) In order to sauna both safely and effectively, it is important to be deliberate and diligent about hydration

Adding the dehydrating qualities of alcohol to the cocktail of heavy sweating that occurs during a sauna session is a nasty combination for your overall health and wellness. This means that if you do plan to keep up with your normal sauna protocol during the holiday season, and also participate in festive alcohol use, you will need to be extra vigilant in your hydrating campaign. 

During the day prior to sauna use be sure to consume plenty of water, electrolyte rich drinks, or coconut water. You will go into your party mode already well hydrated, and will be less likely to fall into a hydration deficit. The following morning, be sure to start your day off with plenty of water and healthy fluids before entering the sauna. 

During your sauna continue to consume water, and after your sauna be sure to take in an electrolyte rich beverage. This will help you recover fluid lost during the sauna session and rehydrate after an evening of holiday drinking. 

Furthermore it can rejuvenate the body to sauna after a night of liquor consumption as the body detoxifies the alcohol during a sauna session. 

Detoxify From Drinking With Sauna Use

If you do decide to sauna after an evening of alcohol use and you have properly prepared through positive hydration, then you may find it an excellent feeling to dip into the sauna and sweat the night away. Be prepared to potentially smell the alcohol in your sweat as you sit in the sauna – this is normal and a positive sign of detoxification

You will notice that your hangover can be reduced by getting into the sauna the next morning. Instead of a dull look to your skin, using a sauna actually gives you a nice glow, despite heavier drinking the night before.

When To Sauna During the Holidays

As long as you are well hydrated go ahead and schedule yourself a morning or early day sauna throughout the holidays to not only keep up your sauna protocol and offset holiday related alcohol use. Sauna in the early part of the day allows you to seamlessly transition into the festive spirit of holiday drinking, confident that you’ve already prioritized your body’s well-being with a morning sauna.

With a little preparation you can easily avoid the disastrous encounter of alcohol and sauna use at the same time!

Sauna Use May Help Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

By using a sauna throughout the holiday season you may be able to help prevent excessive bloating or weight gain from holiday liquor consumption. Alcoholic beverages are generally high in sugar and calories, so even if you are not eating excessively over the holidays, simply having a few more drinks than normal can increase your caloric load. You may want to be sure that you continue to use your sauna throughout the holiday season to help ward of any extra pounds.

If you are using a sauna for weight loss, you will want to be sure to sauna frequently, and sit through the discomfort of the heat until you reach the moment when your body begins to sweat. This pivot point of reaching the moment when sweat is excreted is essential if you are using a sauna in order to lose weight. So, frequent sauna use, rather than very long sauna sessions are important to effectively lose weight with a sauna. 

Post Sauna Cleansing

If you are using a sauna after a night of a holiday partying you will want to ensure that you adequately prepare your skin for your session. If you have been sitting in the sauna and sweating out the previous night’s jollies, you will want to follow the sauna up with a specific cleansing protocol. 

Consider exfoliating the skin gently after (or during your sauna session), this can be done using a variety of techniques. Once the exfoliating has occurred, then you will want to cleanse the skin with a gentle soap, and close the pores with a cold shower, or better yet a cold plunge. 

After following this sauna cleansing procedure you will feel good as new (or at least less hungover and uncomfortable). Be sure to hydrate well!

Sauna Use Over the Holiday Season

It is perfectly normal to indulge the senses over the holiday season with increased alcohol and rich food consumption. The negative effects of doing so can be leveraged by continuing to use a sauna over the course of the holidays, provided you do so in a responsible manner. 

This means do not ever sauna after you have been drinking and do not ever consume alcohol while in the sauna. Furthermore, you will need to be even more diligent than normal about staying well hydrated if you plan to drink alcoholic beverages and use a sauna during any 24 hour period. This means drinking plenty of water and electrolyte rich foods/drink.

Saunas may help mitigate the discomfort of a hangover, particularly if you follow the post sauna protocol. Help to avoid excessive holiday weight gain often associated with an uptake in alcohol consumption by maintaining your sauna regiment.

Have a very happy holiday season and keep on using your sauna (responsibly)!

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