Ending a stressful week with a long soak in a hot tub can be truly invigorating. You let all your troubles melt away, but if you feel like something else might be melting as well, then you have been in that tub for far too long. But how long should you stay in a hot tub in a session?
Generally, how long you should stay in a hot tub, is between 15 and 30 minutes but this does depend on many variables such as the water temperature and your age. So to stay safe and avoid any adverse effects, after this time take a short break and then go back in.
But there’s a lot more to this.
Your body likes being at around a pleasant 98°F (36.5ºC), so when you soak in water that is above 100°F (37.5ºC), there is a risk of overheating. The reason for this is that body/blood temperature is 98.6ºF (37ºC) so anything above this feels very hot.
As you heat up your body will start releasing heat through perspiration. But the higher the temperature, the higher the amount of water you release. And when it’s getting hot tub hot, your body just can’t keep up if you don’t have enough water in your system. The heat becomes trapped and you start feeling unwell, which may lead to overheating.
So, if you’re going to soak in temperatures between 100°F (37.5ºC) and 104°F (40ºC), don’t stay longer than 15-30 minutes. It’s better to be on a safe side than ruin your perfect leisure moment.
Symptoms of overheating
Here is a list of possible symptoms of overheating to look out for.
It’s important to stay safe when using a hot tub, so be mindful of the following:
- Fatigue or weakness
These symptoms are caused by heat exhaustion and can lead further to a life threatening condition known as heatstroke. To avoid any of this, keep to the recommended hot tub soak time.
If it’s summer, then a nice cool soak is a great way to stay refreshed, but be wary of staying too long, as the heat from the sun and the water are still causing your own temperature to raise.
In winter time, the problem is the air temperature. As soon as you leave the warmth of the hot tub, cold air will start bringing your temperature down, and if it’s too cold this process is faster. This can cause dizziness, so be careful and wrap yourself in a towel as soon as you exit.
Many hot tubs have seats that are at different heights to allow for different levels of submersion.
But that’s not the only reason. This is a safety measure put in place for you to move from lower to higher seats so your body can cool down. Make use of it and avoid sitting at the lowest point for too long.
If you remain too low even for 15 minutes, your body temperature will raise faster. Using alternating seat heights will allow you to stay in your hot tub longer.
You should always check with your doctor whether it’s safe for you to soak in a hot tub.
Generally, people who are more at risk of overheating (especially at maximum temperature) are pregnant women, the elderly, people with diabetes, people who have had stroke, as well as those with high or low blood pressure.
Keep track of how you are feeling and if at any point you start experiencing negative effects, leave the tub and cool down.
If you are a healthy adult, it’s safe for you to soak for 15-30 minutes.
Research shows that if you have children, you need to keep the temperature low. If it’s at the maximum of 104°F (40ºC), don’t let them stay for more than 5 minutes.
It’s safest to have your hot tub at a balmy 98°F (36.5ºC), but even then children shouldn’t stay inside for longer than 15 minutes.
Have in mind that hot tubs are extremely unsafe for children under the age of 5. Always be there to supervise your child when they’re playing in the hot tub, and make sure they don’t stay longer than 15 minutes.
How to time your hot tub sessions
When you lie relaxing in a hot tub, letting your thoughts drift off, it is easy to lose track of time. That is certainly true for me.
Many hot tubs have an automatic timer when the pump is on high speed mode and that is often set to switch off after 20 minutes. I use this as a method of gauging how long I have been in my hot tub.
As an alternative you can buy a cheap waterproof timer and set this when you get in your hot tub as a reminder of how long you have been soaking.
The Dretec digital timer is highly rated on Amazon and is waterproof for up to 30 minutes, should you accidentally knock it into the hot tub.
Important safety measures
Follow proper maintenance guidelines for your hot tub to avoid accidents. Keep it clean and tidy. And be even more careful if the hot tub isn’t yours.
What also matters is that you don’t use electronics inside the tub, avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and make sure you have a drain cover that will catch hair.
If you feel any of the listed symptoms of heat exhaustion, be careful when exiting the hot tub, especially if you experience dizziness.
Stay safe in your hot tub
Following the above rules of hot tub use will ensure your experience is great every time. If you want to use your tub for longer than 15-30 minutes, taking a break between soaks is the best practice.
Hot Tub Maintenance Course
I bought this course some months after I bought my first hot tub and was struggling with maintaining it. It was money very well spent and it has paid for itself many times over the years.