Sauna as a cure for hangover: myth or reality?

Many people swear that a visit to the sauna can significantly alleviate the hangover the next day. However, the reality here is a little different.
Sauna bathing against hangover: fairy tale or miracle cure?
© michaklootwijk/

Sauna bathing against hangover: fairy tale or miracle cure?

A hangover can make the next day hell after a night of drinking. Many people look for effective methods to relieve the unpleasant symptoms of a hangover. One possible solution that is always discussed is the sauna. But is the sauna really an effective remedy for a hangover? In this article, we explore the question whether this is a myth or reality.

The effect of the sauna on the body

A sauna is usually a small room or a wooden hut where high temperatures prevail. Normally, the temperature is between 80 and 100 degrees Celsius. Due to the heat, the body begins to sweat, which can have various positive effects on health. These include:

  • Relaxation of the musculature
  • Improvement of blood circulation
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Increase of the well-being
  • Reduces stress
  • Stimulates the metabolism

These effects could theoretically help alleviate the symptoms of a hangover. But is that really the case?

Hangover and dehydration

One of the main problems with a hangover is dehydration of the body. Alcohol has a diuretic effect and causes the kidneys to excrete more water. This can lead to a lack of fluid in the body, which in turn causes headaches, dizziness and general weakness.

In the sauna, the body loses additional fluid through sweating. This can worsen dehydration and thus hangover symptoms. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to drink enough water to rebalance the fluid balance.

Sauna and detoxification

Here, too, the myth that you can sweat out toxins takes hold. The main pathway through which the body eliminates toxins and acetaldehyde is the liver. The amount of toxins excreted through the skin and sweating is small in comparison. Therefore, it is questionable whether the sauna actually makes a decisive contribution to detoxification during a hangover.

Circulatory load and recovery

A hangover puts a strain on the circulatory and cardiovascular systems. The high temperatures in the sauna also pose an additional challenge to the cardiovascular system. If you have a weakened circulation, e.g. due to a hangover, the additional stress in the sauna can lead to dizziness, circulation problems or even fainting. In addition, the body loses additional water and minerals through sweating.

Expert opinion of Dr. med. Rainer Brenke

As Dr. med. Rainer Brenke, consulting physician of the German Sauna Association, explained to the Federal Association of the German Liquor Industry and Importers, it can also lead to a dysregulation of the vessels. As he continues, alcoholic beverages inhibit the body’s defense mechanism that reduces heat loss during cold periods between sauna sessions by constricting blood vessels. This is due to the fact that the body assumes that it is not cold, which hinders the dilation and constriction of blood vessels necessary for immunological defense. Instead, the immune system tends to be weakened.

Conclusion: Myth or reality?

Sauna as a cure for hangover has some aspects that could theoretically help alleviate the symptoms. However, the potential risks and negative effects outweigh the benefits, especially worsening dehydration and stress on the circulatory system.

So, all in all, it can be said that the sauna as a cure for hangovers is more of a myth than a reality. Adequate hydration, rest and a healthy diet are usually more effective ways to combat a hangover.

Did you like the article? We would be delighted if you shared it and helped us to make our sauna magazine accessible to a wider audience, to inspire even more people with the beneficial properties of the sauna.