Andrew Huberman Sauna: Complete Guide [2024]

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Professor Andrew Huberman is a big proponent of sauna use and recommends regular heat exposure.

In this post, we will share Andrew Huberman’s sauna recommendations, protocol, and rationale.

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Who is Andrew Huberman?

Professor Andrew Huberman, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist at Stanford School of Medicine.

He researches brain development, function, and neural plasticity.

In addition to his clinical work, Huberman hosts the Huberman Lab podcast, where he interviews subject matter experts and provides in-depth lectures on various health-related protocols and concepts.

Huberman Sauna Benefits

Huberman describes the body’s response to hot environments as a finely-tuned symphony of physiological reactions.

Upon exposure to heat, our skin acts as the conductor, sending signals to our brain’s preoptic area (POA), a region vital in temperature regulation.

This sensory information triggers responses in our autonomic nervous system, culminating in vasodilation —an increase in the width of blood vessels.


This physiological adjustment facilitates enhanced blood flow, amplified plasma volume, and a rise in stroke volume — the amount of blood the heart pumps with each beat.

The result is an escalated heart rate, generally ranging from 100 to 150 beats per minute.

Remarkably, Huberman likens these effects to a cardio workout, albeit one without any strain on joints or limbs.

As the heart rate increases and more blood circulates, the body undergoes vascular changes to accommodate these shifts.

This phenomenon essentially provides a ‘cardio workout’ without any physical exertion.

Related: How to Acclimatize to Heat with Sauna


Another intriguing facet of ‘deliberate heating’ relates to the hormonal shifts that ensue.

Our adrenal glands, as well as reproductive organs like testes and ovaries, respond to the hot environment with alterations in hormone production.

Looking deeper into the hormonal effects, Huberman cites a 2021 study on young adult men.

The research participants attended four sauna sessions of 12 minutes each, at temperatures around 90 to 91 degrees Celsius, followed by a six-minute cooldown break in cold water (10 degrees Celsius).

Interestingly, the study found that this protocol led to a considerable decrease in cortisol — the hormone often linked with stress.

Related: Sauna and Ice Bath: Complete Guide

Cortisol, while beneficial in small, regulated amounts, can be problematic when levels spike due to prolonged stress.

Hence, the cortisol-lowering effect of sauna sessions, according to this protocol, could be a powerful tool for those seeking natural stress management solutions.

Related: Sauna Cold Plunge Routine

Growth Hormone

Sauna use has been found to trigger moderate increases in growth hormones.

Growth hormone is a naturally occurring hormone secreted by our pituitary gland, nestled in close proximity to the roof of our mouths.

Notably, growth hormone plays a pivotal role in the metabolism and growth of cells and tissues, as well as in tissue repair.

Of particular interest is a study that found deliberate heat exposure through sauna use can stimulate considerable increases in growth hormone output.

This can be particularly advantageous for people in their 30s, 40s, and beyond.

Typically, growth hormone is released during the early stages of our sleep cycle, characterized by slow-wave sleep.

As we age, this nocturnal release of growth hormone dwindles, leaving a gap that sauna use can help fill.

To maximize growth hormone release:
Time your sauna sessions: The best time to use the sauna is in the evening or at nighttime, especially if you haven’t eaten in the two hours before sleep. This is because growth hormone is released from the pituitary in the early night’s sleep.

Growth hormone is also critical in post-exercise recovery, stimulating fat loss, muscle growth, or repairing a specific injury.

Related: Andrew Huberman Magnesium Threonate: Brand, Dosage, and Rationale

Huberman Sauna Protocol

Huberman uses the sauna as a tool for deliberate heat exposure, aiming for a temperature range between 80 and 100 degrees Celsius.

The duration of my sessions varies, but typically he stays in for about 5 to 20 minutes per session.

Huberman hasn’t stated a preference between wet or dry saunas, as both can be effective.

Regarding his personal sauna usage, he has not specified the exact type of sauna he uses.

He also ensures to hydrate properly after each session, replacing the water and electrolytes lost through sweating.

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Related: Andrew Huberman Red Light Therapy Recommendations

Duration and Frequency

Aim for a 20-minute session in the sauna at approximately 170 degrees Fahrenheit at least four times a week.

This regimen appears to be an effective minimum dose for reducing overall mortality risk and cardiovascular complications.

Combining with Cold

Incorporating cold exposure with sauna use can provide additional benefits, though this isn’t a necessity for everyone.

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Maximizing Growth Hormone

For those aiming to augment growth hormone release, consider using the sauna while fasting or at least two to three hours after a meal.

However, it’s crucial to remember that regular sauna use, irrespective of the timing, can still be beneficial.

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Alternatives to Sauna

If a sauna is unavailable, there are other methods to increase your body’s core and shell temperature.

These can include hot tubs, sauna tents, or engaging in exercise while wearing heavy clothing.

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However, for men attempting to conceive, hot baths are not recommended as they can temporarily lower sperm motility and production.

Huberman has actually said he will go into the sauna with a strategically placed ice pack to protect sperm count.

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Huberman Infrared Sauna

When it comes to the type of sauna, whether it’s dry, steam, or infrared, it doesn’t really matter, according to Huberman.

What’s important is that the sauna gets hot enough, ideally between 80 and 100 degrees Celsius.

Sauna vs. Steam Room

When it comes to the benefits of heat exposure, Huberman has stated that it’s not so much about the specific method, whether it’s a sauna or a steam room, but rather about ensuring that your body’s shell and core heat up properly.

Both saunas and steam rooms can provide this beneficial deliberate heat exposure.

Traditional saunas are often used in studies due to their convenience and ability to control conditions, but there’s nothing inherently special about any one approach.

Sauna After Workout

According to Huberman, using a sauna after a workout can be beneficial for several reasons.

First off, it can help increase growth hormone levels, especially if you use the sauna or other deliberate heat exposure fairly seldom, say no more than once per week, and do it a lot that day, broken up into multiple sessions.

Secondly, it can have cardiovascular benefits and potential longevity benefits if done three to four, even seven times per week.

Lastly, it can have mental health benefits by increasing dynorphine, which then increases the ability of endorphin to have positive effects on mood after you get out of the sauna.

However, for most people, doing it later in the day will be more beneficial because of the post-sauna cooling effect.

After a sauna, your body works to reduce your core temperature, which helps to optimize sleep.

Huberman Sauna Cold Plunge

Huberman’s discussion with Susanna Søberg shed light on how combining heat exposure, like using a sauna, and cold plunges can offer benefits.

These include:

  • Improved blood sugar clearance
  • Decreased insulin levels
  • Enhanced brown fat distribution and density

The subjects in Søberg’s study took three rounds of cold exposure for one to two minutes, two to three times a week, which totals around eleven minutes of cold exposure weekly.

Alongside this, sauna sessions of ten to fifteen minutes were also included in their routine.

Søberg noted a correlation with the Finnish Cohort study, which found that sauna sessions up to 30 minutes can decrease cardiovascular disease risk.

The benefits plateau beyond 30 minutes, indicating that there’s no additional gain from extended exposure.

This corroborates the ‘hormetic stress’ concept, where moderate stress exposure can be beneficial for cellular repair and health, but overdoing it might be counterproductive.

Regarding cold plunges, it was found that immersion in cold water for one to two minutes per session, totaling around eleven minutes per week, is enough to extract health benefits.

As for sauna exposure, the study indicated that a total of 57 minutes per week, spread over two to three days with two sessions each day, is sufficient.

The key takeaway is that extreme measures are not necessary to gain the benefits of heat and cold exposure.

Slight stressors can lead to health improvements, but overexertion might exhaust the cells and inadvertently increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.


What does Huberman say about sauna?

Huberman has found sauna use has been linked to several health benefits including reduced cortisol, improved heart health, and enhanced mental health.

What type of sauna does Andrew Huberman recommend?

In terms of sauna type, Huberman doesn’t specifically recommend one over the other.

The key is to create an environment that heats you up, but not to dangerously high levels.

This could be achieved with a traditional sauna, an infrared sauna, or even a very hot bath or shower.

What is the healthiest type of sauna?

Huberman has said the healthiest type of sauna really depends on your specific goals and needs.

For instance, if you’re looking to increase growth hormone, a traditional sauna used fairly seldom, perhaps once a week, can be beneficial.

Most studies Huberman references on the Huberman Lab podcast utilize traditional saunas.

Does the sauna affect HGH levels?

Yes, sauna use can indeed affect Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels.

However, it’s important to note that the increase in growth hormone doesn’t necessarily compound with repeated sauna sessions in a single day.

In other words, if you use the sauna once, you’ll see a significant increase in growth hormone, but if you use it again later in the day, the increase won’t be as substantial.

If you want to maximize the amount of growth hormone released in response to sauna use, it’s beneficial to do it fasted, or at least not having ingested any food in the two or three hours before.

How many minutes in the sauna is healthy?

20 minutes in the sauna at 170 degrees Fahrenheit seems to be a good threshold for health benefits.

Is it OK to sauna everyday?

Yes, it’s okay to sauna every day, especially if you’re interested in the cardiovascular and potential longevity benefits of sauna.

Based on the data, about an hour per week, broken up into three sessions, makes the most sense for general health effects.

However, if you’re looking for the greatest growth hormone increases, you might want to do sauna or other deliberate heat exposure less frequently, perhaps no more than once per week.

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No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

About the Author

Drew Wilkins is a fitness and nutrition expert with a Master's in Biokinesiology (emphasis in Sports Science) from the University of Southern California and over a decade of experience as a personal trainer, nutrition consultant, and wellness coach. An avid surfer and soccer player, he brings a unique perspective to his research, advocating for a balanced approach to health that includes physical fitness, nutrition, and mental well-being.

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