There’s nothing like coming home after a long, hard day and getting to soak in a hot tub in your home or backyard, but there’s a fine line between soaking just the right amount of time and staying in too long.
Since you’re submerging yourself, usually up to your neck, in very warm water, it can cause your body temperature to rise, and you can start to experience unpleasant symptoms after a period of time. But, how long is too long to soak in a hot tub, and what time should you aim for?
Generally speaking, you should only stay in the hot tub between 15 and 30 minutes at a time. You could extend your soak up to 45 minutes with lower water temperatures, but several factors come into play that dictates how long you can safely stay in the hot tub without any adverse side effects. The outdoor temperature, hot tub temperature, your health, age, and whether or not you consume alcohol while you soak all factor in.
If you’re curious as to how long you can stay in your hot tub, this is for you. We’re going to touch on all of these items and more to give you a complete picture of how long you can stay in to unwind and relax, which factors you should consider, things to avoid, and what could happen if you happen to soak too long.
Important Consideration Factors That Impact How Long You Can Soak
One of the first things you have to do when you’re trying to figure out how long you can stay in the hot tub is knowing how many of the following factors apply to you. Everyone is different, so it’s not usual for people to have different safe time ranges.
Most healthy adults of any age can stay in a hot tub safely for up to 45 minutes without experiencing any negative impacts.
However, depending on the water temperature and their age, children shouldn’t exceed five minutes in some cases, and this tops out at a maximum time of 20 minutes without getting out and cooling down.
If your hot tub is outside, the temperature of the surrounding environment can impact how long it’s safe for you to stay in the water. For example, if the temperature drops, your body could cool itself at a rate that is too fast to be healthy, and this could have a negative impact on your health.
If you’re someone who plans to use the hot tub regularly, you should always touch base with your primary care provider to review any personal risks or factors that might impact you to ensure you stay healthy. You have to be aware of how you’re feeling when you’re in the water and end your session if you notice any negative impacts of getting overheated.
The water in most hot tubs typically ranges from 100-degrees Fahrenheit to 104-degrees Fahrenheit, depending on your personal preferences. When you’re trying to figure out how long you can stay in the water, the general rule is that the higher the temperature is, the shorter time you can safely soak.
Points to Avoid While in the Hot Tub
It’s true that the factors we touched on above will vary from person to person, but everyone should avoid the following points when they’re in the hot tub due to the potential for negative impacts. It doesn’t matter your age or health, and you want to avoid:
- Drinking alcoholic beverages
- Using electronics near or in the hot tub
- Leaving your long hair loose to get caught in the drain or filter system
- Using the hot tub when you’re taking medications that can cause drowsiness
The Dangers of Staying in the Hot Tub Too Long
If you’re still not sure how long you can safely stay in the hot tub, pay close attention to your body. It’ll send you plenty of signals that you’re crossing into dangerous territory. The following are some of the most common symptoms you can experience in varying severity levels.
Blood Pressure Drops
Unless you have a blood pressure monitoring system on you 24 hours a day, it can be difficult to know whether or not you’re experiencing a drop. However, your body will send out a host of warning signals that something isn’t right if you do experience one of these dips. You could experience blurred vision, dizziness, fatigue, fainting, inability to concentrate, and nausea, and these symptoms can get worse as your blood pressure keeps dropping.
Your skin can start to get red or show burns, but this could also happen if you have sensitive skin. It’s still a sign that you should cut your soak and get out of the hot tub to give your skin a break, so it doesn’t get worse. In the best-case scenario, it’s a light irritation or heat rash, but it can quickly turn to actual burns that require more intensive care.
Dizziness or Lightheaded
If you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded as you sit in the hot tub, this could be your body trying to tell you that your body is getting too hot. Even if you don’t feel too hot, your temperature could be higher than you think. So, you should get out and cool off for a minimum of 15 minutes to see if you feel better.
Nausea or Vomiting
Getting exposed to constant, intense heat can cause nausea and vomiting that is not directly related to heatstroke or heat exhaustion. Even if you don’t think that your symptoms are that severe, it’s a good idea to vacate the hot tub and drink a lot of cool fluids to try and regulate your body temperature while getting rid of the nauseous feelings.
A lot of people don’t even realize that they’re starting to overheat until they get to the point where they’re physically sick. However, you can prevent your body from getting to this point if you recognize the early signs that you’re starting to overheat and remove yourself from the water. A few common signs include headache, tingling sensations in your skin, dizziness, decreased or increased heart rate, weakness, fatigue, and either not sweating at all or sweating profusely.
What’s the Final Verdict?
Although this information is great for a lot of different scenarios, what if you’re a healthy, full-grown adult who can easily soak for 30 minutes without any negative side effects?
If this is you, you could just keep soaking until you get tired of being in the hot tub, but it’s always safe to have some guidelines for hot tub usage. Ideally, you’ll take a break every 15 or 30 minutes to remove yourself from the water for 45 minutes to an hour.
The guidelines will change based on your health and the outdoor temperature, but this is a good starting point.
How long you should soak depends entirely on your personal comfort level. If you feel fine, continue to soak. But, if you start experiencing negative effects, get out and cool off.
Several factors influence how long you can safely soak in your hot tub, but the general rule of thumb is between 15 and 45 minutes at a time.
Get out of the hot tub when you start feeling off and cool down to prevent it from getting worse. Listen to what your body tells you and enjoy relaxing safely.