How to Pass Time in a Sauna: (4 Best Things to Do)

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Saunas are great for your health. You’ll sweat out toxins and improve your circulation. Not to mention, you’ll sit in one of the most relaxing places on earth. Sounds ideal, right? But there is a problem. It can be challenging to pass the time. Moreover, with the high heat; some people struggle to stay in a traditional sauna if they only focus on the time.

In the sauna, you can do breathing exercises, stretches, meditation, reading, or any combination of activities to make it more part of your daily life. Having an established sauna routine is great because it helps you pass the time and keeps your mind busy.

In the sauna, our minds wander as we have more time to think than usual.  You get a break from everyday stress during your time in the sauna. However, passing the time can be a challenge sometimes. There are two types of people in saunas – those who love it and those who find it a chore. If you’re in the latter camp and want to find out how to get through your next sauna session without dying of boredom and struggle, you’re in luck! Continue reading this guide to learn how best to pass the time in the sauna!

Benefits of Having a Sauna Routine

If you’re new to visiting a sauna, you might not know how to keep your mind busy and stop yourself from feeling like crawling out after just a few minutes especially considering you can’t take your phone in there with you as we’ve argued before. If you don’t keep your mind occupied, you’ll likely focus on the heat and bail before you can get a deep sweat going.

There aren’t many benefits of staying in the sauna just a few minutes at a time. You want to push your body in as efficient a manner as possible (without overdoing it). That means keeping your mind distracted for all or a significant portion of your sauna session with a routine. 

Your sauna routine needs to be part of your lifestyle to get the most benefit. Create an outline of what you want to do full of activities that will keep your mind busy. You can write down your routine with pen and paper, save it on your phone or computer, or just keep it in your head. As you get more accustomed to the sauna, you can always adjust your routine later. 

The Best Activities To Do In The Sauna

A sauna routine helps keep your mind busy, and instead of focusing on the heat, you’ll be distracted and should be able to last longer. Below are the best things you can do in the sauna. You can do all of these activities in each sauna session or just one; it’s entirely up to which combination works the best for you. 


Meditation is one of the best “tricks” to pass the time in the sauna. To start, sit with your back straight up against the wall with your hand open on your lap. Your legs could be folded, or you can be in the standard seated position – whatever is more comfortable to you works best.

Let your eyes relax and close while you continue to relax every body part one by one. Breath deeply and steady, and while you relax your body, clear your mind and relax it too. Let all your worries part and just be in the moment. 


Stretching is a great practice to pair with a sauna session. Due to their high heat, saunas help relieve tense muscles by reducing inflammation and increasing blood flow. What better way to compound on this fantastic benefit by stretching at the same time?

You’ll be so loose and limber by the time you’re done; you won’t have noticed any time has passed at all! In the sauna, keep to stretching that is relaxing, not taxing. Remember, you’re looking to make the sauna visit easier, not more difficult. 

Breathing Exercises 

Focusing on your breath is another good way to help pass the time in the sauna, and by this, I mean to literally focus on your breathing as you inhale and exhale – this is a classic meditation technique. Concentrating on your breath is not only a good distraction, but it helps increase your blood oxygenation levels.

Coupled with the high heat from the sauna, it will help boost your immune and cardiovascular systems even more. There are various breathing exercises you can implement, and finding the best one for you is vital. Try different ones you find online until you find one you love. 


Alternatively, you can read books, magazines, or comic books inside the sauna. However, you should avoid any reading materials in steam rooms as the water vapor will saturate and destroy your books. For traditional saunas, books are generally okay.

There’s usually not enough humidity to harm them (unless someone splashes tons of water onto the sauna stones). With infrared saunas, there are absolutely no potential downsides of bringing in reading materials, moreover, some people say they’ve used their Kindle in a sauna without any issues even though it’s not recommended (our discussion on this) but we’ll talk more about in a second.

Leave Electronic Devices Behind

Young Woman Holding a Phone in a Sauna

If you’re considering bringing in your smartphone, headphones, tablet, or Kindle into the sauna to pass the time, think again. None of these electronic devices are compatible with the high heat and humidity of sauna rooms.

Put simply, they can break easily. Besides, having electronic devices goes against the entire ethos of saunas. Not using electronic devices allows you to better engage with the calm, stress-reducing auras that saunas provide. 

Can You Take a Book In a Sauna?

You can take a book into an infrared (IR) sauna with no issues at all because the heating system is different in a fundamental way. However, the book could get damaged in traditional saunas if the humidity levels get too high, which is uncommon.

In steam saunas like this one (on Amazon), for example, definitely don’t use a book in them; your book will be completely destroyed within minutes. Additionally, e-readers like Kindles are not recommended for use in any saunas.  

How Long Should You Spend in the Sauna?

The time you spend in the sauna depends on your experience, the temperature, the type of sauna, and how much free time you have. For beginners, they should limit their first sauna session to 10-15 minutes and slowly build up over time in 5-minute increments.

Newbies can also increase the temperature gradually as they gain more experience. However, as you increase the temperature levels, you should decrease your length of stay. For “expert” sauna-users, many stay in IR saunas, traditional saunas, or steam rooms, sometimes as long as an hour.

Alternatively, some go in the sauna for 20 minutes, then out for 10 minutes, and then repeat 2 to 3 more times. Whether your spending 10 minutes or 1 hour in the sauna, having a routine can make the experience more fulfilling, less stressful, and more beneficial for your body and mind. 

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