Andrew Huberman’s Sauna Protocol to Increase Growth Hormone - Ascendment

Andrew Huberman’s Sauna Protocol to Increase Growth Hormone

Regular sauna-use can provide an array of health benefits and extend our lifespan. Saunas can also be used as a tool to supercharge growth hormone production in the body. Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman discovered a study that found a specific sauna protocol could increase production of growth hormone an incredible 16 times higher than normal levels.

What is Growth Hormone?

Growth hormone is a natural hormone produced and released by the pituitary gland which is located at the base of the brain. It’s also known as human growth hormone or somatotropin. Growth hormone ensures children grow, with levels peaking as we reach puberty. Adults still require growth hormone to maintain bone density, muscle mass, energy levels, and cognitive function.

Andrew Huberman highlights the important role growth hormone plays in the body saying: “Growth hormone releasing hormones stimulate the release of growth hormone from the anterior pituitary gland into the general circulation and then growth hormone impacts metabolism and growth of cells and tissues of the body. It is responsible for tissue repair as well.”

The neuroscientist says our natural production of growth hormone decreases as we get older: “Starting in our early 30s or so, the amount of growth hormone that we secrete is greatly diminished.”

Growth hormone is released from the pituitary gland after we go to sleep. It is released in the early stages of sleep known as slow-wave sleep. However, less and less of this natural hormone is released as we age. A deficiency can lead to weak bones, loss of muscle mass, fatigue, and depression.

The good news is that there are tools we can use to increase our levels of growth hormone naturally. Intermittent and prolonged fasting, certain types of exercise, and sauna-use can all be used to increase the amount of growth hormone that is released into the body.

The Study

A study which took place in 1986 has been the basis for plenty of further research. “Endocrine effects of repeated sauna bathing” discovered that subjects using a sauna at 80 degrees Celsius for four 30-minute sessions for a total of 2 hours in one day experienced a 16-fold increases in growth hormone.

Discussing the study, Andrew Huberman says: “On day one there was a 16-fold increase in growth hormone. On day three however, there was still a significant effect on growth hormone as compared to before sauna, but that effect was basically cut by two thirds. So now instead of getting a 16-fold increase, it was more like a three of four-fold increase. On day seven, there tended to be a two, maybe a three-fold increase but not as great as the one observed on day one.”

While there was still a considerable increase in growth hormone production when the protocol was repeated on day three and day seven, it wasn’t as profound as the 16-fold increase that occurred on day one of the study. This is because the body becomes adapted to this particular stressor and it’s less of a shock to the system and therefore less effective. This indicates that using the sauna for the particular purpose of increasing growth hormone should be done less frequently than you would use it for general health benefits and longevity benefits.

Huberman’s Protocol for Growth Hormone Increase

The use of deliberate heat exposure can be a very powerful way to improve health and longevity. The aforementioned study also shows the potential sauna-use has on increasing growth hormone which in turn will improve our physique.  

Huberman notes how effective sauna-use can be in terms of improving our physique: “Growth hormone impacts metabolism and growth of cells and tissues of the body. It is responsible for tissue repair as well and may also be useful for people who are just trying to stimulate the release of more growth hormone in order to recover from exercise, stimulate fat loss, muscle growth, or repair of a particular injury.”

How do we try and achieve the 16-fold increase in growth hormone that people in the study achieved? Well, below is the exact protocol that was used.

You can use a wet, dry or infrared sauna to perform Andrew Huberman’s sauna protocol for increasing growth hormone production. The only requisite is that you can set the temperature somewhere between 80 – 100 degrees Celsius (187 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit). Here's how to do it:

  1. Spend half an hour in a sauna in the morning
  2. Leave sauna and spend 10 minutes in cool/cold water
  3. Spend another half an hour in the sauna at the same temperature as before
  4. Leave sauna
  5. In the afternoon repeat steps 1-4 exactly

Talking about the type of sauna to use Huberman says: “As long as you are able to use it in the mentioned heat range it doesn’t matter whether it’s a wet sauna, dry sauna or infrared sauna."

In this protocol you will spend a total of two hours in the sauna split into four sessions or sets. The protocol was supervised during the study and if you are going to try it take extra care. Make sure you are in good health, and you keep hydrated. Rehydrate with water and electrolytes in between the sauna sessions. Caution is key and Huberman says: “I recommend starting on the lower end of the temperature scale and if that’s too hot for you that you even lower the temperature further.”

How Often Should I Use a Sauna to Increase Growth Hormone?

The above protocol is scientifically proven to increase growth hormone by up to 16x. Spending two hours in a sauna in just one day is taxing on the mind and body and shouldn’t be performed too regularly. The shock to the system that this protocol creates is what makes it so effective and what triggers this drastic spike in growth hormone. The study showed that repeating the protocol on the 3rd and 7th day saw a much-reduced rate of growth hormone production. Andrew Huberman therefore recommends performing this particular protocol once every 7 – 10 days.

He says: “One of the key things to understand about the use of deliberate heat exposure is if you’re going to use it in order to try and trigger massive increases in growth hormone, you’re going to have to be careful to be not doing it more than, let’s say, once a week. Maybe once every 10 days would be even better.”

Huberman continues: “If you start getting heat adapted it’s very unlikely that you’re going to get these massive increases in growth hormone.”

The neuroscientist says you can maximize the results by timing your sauna sessions around certain events stating: “If that’s your specific goal, or your main goal, then I think it’s reasonable to say that you don’t want to do deliberate heat exposure, at least not of the sort that I described here, once a week, or maybe even once every 10 days, and you would want to time that with other events like hard workouts or if you are trying to push through a fat loss barrier or simply to access growth hormone at peak levels, maybe three times per month or four time per month.

He says it’s best “if you shock your system with deliberate heat exposure every once in a while” if your goal is to use the sauna particularly for increasing growth hormone. However, if you are more interested in the range of general health benefits sauna-use provides you should aim to have more regular sessions. It depends on your specific goals. 


Growth hormone is a natural hormone that is produced and released by the pituitary gland which is located at the base of the brain. This hormone promotes bone density, muscle mass, energy levels, cognitive function, and tissue repair.

An 1986 study discovered that a certain sauna protocol could increase growth hormone production 16-fold. This particular protocol of four 30-minute sessions separated by 10 minutes of cold water exposure in between can be utilized for those looking to increase the amount of growth hormone their body produces. Andrew Huberman recommends performing this protocol once every 7 – 10 days to get maximum benefits. If performed too often less drastic increases in growth hormone are produced.

If you're thinking about investing in a home sauna you can learn more about them here

Read more: Gary Brecka – Sauna Benefits & Heat Shock Proteins

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