Mixing your sauna and alcohol may seem like a great way to have a party with your closest friends, but there are risks if you step into a sauna after consuming too much alcohol. Understanding the risks and minimizing the possible complications is essential if you want to have a good time without anyone getting hurt.
If you drink heavily before or during a sauna, you're increasing the chances that you'll injure yourself or become quite ill.
Studies have shown that individuals who have too much alcohol in their system when using sauna often don't realize how much their body has been affected. When you try to stand up, you may fall down and hurt yourself; you may even pass out.
Combining a sauna and alcohol more than doubles the effect of either one, and that includes lowering your blood pressure, sometimes to dangerous levels that can result in you passing out.
Alcohol metabolizes in your blood stream more quickly if you use a sauna, which means you can suddenly feel quite drunk on less alcohol than you usually consume. This means you may feel fine one minute, and feel horrible the next.
Dehydration can increase this effect, and both drinking alcohol and using a sauna can intensify dehydration, leading to headaches and a queasy feeling. In extreme situations, drinking heavily and entering a sauna can even lead to a heart attack or stroke.
One of the most common misconceptions about the sauna and alcohol is that using a sauna is a great way to "sweat out" the alcohol if you have a hangover. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, if you have a hangover, do NOT go into a sauna, as you'll experience a drop in blood pressure and possibly cardiac arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat) which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
The amount of actual alcohol you lose through perspiration is negligible. There are far better ways to recover from a hangover, including drinking lots of non-alcoholic liquids, eating some bland food, and taking a warm shower.
We've talked about how dangerous it is to combine a sauna and alcohol if you're drinking heavily, but that doesn't mean you can't have the occasional drink while enjoying your sauna. The key is moderation - you shouldn't be tossing back beers like you're in a frat house.
If you want to enjoy a glass of wine or a mixed drink while relaxing in the sauna, feel free to do so, but remember to be cautious when you stand up to avoid getting dizzy. Don't have more than one social drink before or during your sauna.
If you want to continue your celebration after everyone is out of the sauna, you can do so. Simply wait until everyone has returned to their normal body temperature and be sure that everyone drinks plenty of water or fruit juice to prevent dehydration.