From Sauna to Sleep: How Infrared Saunas Improve Sleep

Infrared saunas take a traditional remedy and amp it up with the latest technological innovations. In essence, infrared saunas use electromagnetic energy to heat the body up, stimulate healing, and energize the cells. They’re typically known for helping with weight regulation and detoxification, but their benefits are far-reaching. Regular infrared saunas are amazing for de-stressing and helping you get a great night’s sleep.

Here’s how infrared saunas get you asleep faster than you can say electromagnetic wavelengths!

Muscle Relaxation

When you have muscle soreness – either tight legs from a good hike, sore arms from moving house, or simply a stiff neck from working on your laptop – a warm bath feels like heaven. That’s because the heat promotes circulation to the area, bringing in essential nutrients for repair, and taking away waste. Infrared saunas take this principle to a new level by using wavelengths to deliver a more penetrating heat to the body. Although it may not feel as hot, infrared saunas raise body temperature, improve circulation,1-2 and reduce muscle soreness3 to help you relax for bed.

Body Temperature

Infrared saunas increase body temperature…well, obviously. But why does that help with sleep? The principle behind this is the same as the sleep-inducing effects of a warm shower. The process of increasing body temperature, stimulating sweating, and thereby cooling the body off helps signal to the body that it’s time for sleep. Our sleep-wake cycle is controlled largely by our external environment; the rise and fall of the sun, but also the rise and fall of the temperature over the day. Getting the body warm to stimulate cooling can be seen as a trick to make the body think the temperature is cooler, and it is time to hop into bed.4

Detoxification

Sweating isn’t just for cooling off. Studies show that sweating is an effective detoxification process and can help eliminate dangerous heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium from the body.5 Pulling heavy metals out from our tissues, processing them, and then excreting them is a tiring process for the body. Although infrared saunas are more mild compared to treatments like medical chelation therapy, detoxification can cause you to feel sleepy, heavy, and ready for a long sleep.

Stress Balancing

Dr Myers, New York Times bestselling author and internationally acclaimed functional medicine physician, explains, “Infrared sauna therapy promotes relaxation by helping to balance your body’s level of cortisol, your body’s primary stress hormone. The heat generated by the sauna will also help to relax muscles and relieve tension throughout the body, allowing you to relax and de-stress.”6 Cortisol is our stress hormone but it also works antagonistically with melatonin to control our sleep-wake cycle. High cortisol helps to make us feel awake and alert in the morning but unfortunately, our high stress lifestyles can lead to chronically high and imbalanced cortisol, stopping us from getting a good night’s sleep. Infrared saunas help combat your stressful lifestyle so you can work hard, play hard, and sleep hard!

Key Takeaway! 

If you’re having any difficulties sleeping, today is the day to address them! Inadequate sleep quantity or quality is extremely detrimental on your physical and mental health. It makes us tired, unproductive, vulnerable to infection, irritable, anxious, can lead to hormonal imbalances and weight gain. Infrared saunas deliver wavelengths to relax muscles, raise body temperature, detox, and balance stress to support healthy sleep.

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References:

  1. Ise, N., Katsuura, T., Kikuchi, Y., & Miwa, E. (1987). Effect of far-infrared radiation on forearm skin blood flow. The Annals of physiological anthropology = Seiri Jinruigaku Kenkyukai kaishi6(1), 31–32. https://doi.org/10.2114/ahs1983.6.31
  2. Akasaki, Y., Miyata, M., Eto, H., Shirasawa, T., Hamada, N., Ikeda, Y., Biro, S., Otsuji, Y., & Tei, C. (2006). Repeated thermal therapy up-regulates endothelial nitric oxide synthase and augments angiogenesis in a mouse model of hindlimb ischemia. Circulation journal : official journal of the Japanese Circulation Society70(4), 463–470. https://doi.org/10.1253/circj.70.463
  3. Aiyegbusi Ayoola I, Aturu Adebimpe J, Akinfeleye Adegoke M. (2016). A comparative study of the effects of infrared radiation and warm-up exercises in the management of DOMS. Journal of Clinical Sciences, 13(2), 77-81. 
  4. Okamoto-Mizuno, K., & Mizuno, K. (2012). Effects of thermal environment on sleep and circadian rhythm. Journal of physiological anthropology31(1), 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/1880-6805-31-14
  5. Sears, M. E., Kerr, K. J., & Bray, R. I. (2012). Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat: a systematic review. Journal of environmental and public health2012, 184745. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/184745
  6. https://www.sunlighten.com/infrared-sauna-health-benefits/relaxation/
Rachel

Rachel Erwin, Nutritionist & Content Writer

Rachel is a Nutritionist with a BSc in Biology and Global Health from the University of Toronto, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Nutrition from the University of Ulster. She has counselled and educated clients in Hong Kong, whose health goals ranged from weight loss to detox and hormone balancing. Her love of writing led her to complete ‘Writing in the Sciences’, offered by Stanford University, and since then she has contributed several evidence-based health articles to various publications.

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