There is a growing body of research indicating that sauna use is associated with many health benefits, ranging from improved endurance to excretion of certain toxins. As you would probably expect, sauna use results in a lot of sweating, which is actually responsible for delivering many of the benefits. According to research compiled by Dr. Rhonda Patrick, “the average person loses approximately 0.5 kg (1.1lbs) of fluid as sweat during a single sauna session”1.With intense sweating comes the risk of dehydration. We are not suggesting you avoid the sauna, but you should have a hydration plan to avoid the deleterious effects of dehydration (outlined in Optimal Hydration). The easiest way to do this is by drinking water before and during sauna use. The confounding factor of sauna hydration is that your water bottle will be subjected to high temperatures. In fact, only a handful of bottles are appropriate during this activity.
Plastic Water Bottles in the Sauna
Given the high temperatures found in the sauna you need to choose your water bottle wisely. Studies have indicated that plastic will release more BPA when exposed to hot water2. Exposure to BPA is associated with higher risk for a number of medical disorders including diabetes and cardiovascular disease3. Therefore, we do not advise using plastic water bottles in the sauna. The irony here is that there is some evidence to indicate that sauna use may facilitate your body’s excretion of BPA4. Using a plastic water bottle in the sauna could possibly increase your toxin load, eliminating a benefit of sauna use.
Best Water Bottles for the Sauna
At this time we can only recommend two water bottles for use in the sauna. One is specifically designed for sauna use, and the other was okayed by the product manufacturer. Many stainless steel bottles can be compromised with high heat (see our Stainless Steel Dishwashing Article for more background), so we do not want to suggest a use that may void the warranty or worse yet, ruin the bottle. For instance, Hydro Flask customer service does not recommend using their bottles in the sauna.
- The Sauna Bottle: While we have not tried it, this is the only water bottle that we found specifically designed for sauna use. The bottle is made up of a double-walled vacuum-sealed stainless steel bottle with a bamboo sleeve. The idea is that the stainless steel will insulate the water and keep it cool while the bamboo will keep the exterior from burning the hand of the user. We have yet to try it, but the Amazon reviews are all positive. If you have used this bottle, let us know what you think via our contact page.
- Yeti: We asked the Yeti team, and they indicated a Yeti Rambler would be appropriate for sauna use given its ability to withstand the temperatures found in a dishwasher. They recommended using a Yeti handle, a removable plastic handle that grips the side of the bottle, so you would not have to touch the hot metal exterior.
Best Electrolyte Mixes for the Sauna
Replacing electrolytes lost in sweat is also an important consideration for sauna use. If sauna use is accompanied with intense exercise or if it’s just a prolonged session, consider using an electrolyte mix instead of regular water. We’ve outlined a few that worked well for our reviewers:
- LMNT: Our reviewers found this mix is best suited for intense exercise or perspiration given its high sodium content. If you are hitting the sauna after a long workout, LMNT would be a good choice. It’s also one of our favorite tasting electrolyte mixes.
- Dr. Price’s: One of our all-around favorites, Dr. Price’s mix provides salt, magnesium, and potassium to replenish the top electrolytes lost during sweat.
- Ultima Replenisher: This refreshing electrolyte mix also contains a good balance of minerals to maintain bodily functions. The lemonade flavor is a favorite among our reviewers.
The sauna can be a fun and healthy activity if you are prepared to stay hydrated. Remember to always consult a physician before starting to use a sauna.
1 Patrick, Rhonda. “Sauna.” Found My Fitness, www.foundmyfitness.com/topics/sauna#bibid-73b0f31ad82e990e921d78736e4603e9. Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.
2Cooper, James E et al. “Assessment of bisphenol A released from reusable plastic, aluminium and stainless steel water bottles.” Chemosphere vol. 85,6 (2011): 943-7. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.06.060
3Lang IA, Galloway TS, Scarlett A, et al. Association of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration With Medical Disorders and Laboratory Abnormalities in Adults. JAMA. 2008;300(11):1303–1310. doi:10.1001/jama.300.11.1303
4Stephen J. Genuis, Sanjay Beesoon, Detlef Birkholz, Rebecca A. Lobo, “Human Excretion of Bisphenol A: Blood, Urine, and Sweat (BUS) Study”, Journal of Environmental and Public Health, vol. 2012, Article ID 185731, 10 pages, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/185731