Morning wood, or nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT), is a good indicator of healthy blood supply and nerves to the penis. Morning erections usually start around puberty and increase in frequency into adulthood. What causes morning erections, and should you be concerned if you aren’t experiencing morning wood?
What causes ‘Morning Wood’?
While the exact cause(s) of morning wood are not well understood, there are several theories:
- REM (sleep cycles) – it’s not uncommon for men to have 3-5 erections during a night of sleep, these erections tend to happen during the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep and go away on their own as you enter a deeper phase of sleep. Waking often occurs at the end of a REM cycle which could be why you wake up with an erection.
- Hormones – during the day your body produces a hormone called norepinephrine that suppresses erections. During deep sleep, levels of norepinephrine drop and allow pro-erection nitrergic hormones to spike, leading to a morning erection.
- More hormones – testosterone levels peak in the morning, especially right after a REM cycle.
- Bladder – a full bladder may put pressure on the sacral nerves responsible for an erection. This can cause a “reflex erection” that lingers into the morning, usually until you pee.
- Dreams/stimulation – stimulation from someone or something physical or mental stimulation through dreams could lead to an erection.
Whatever the reason, morning erections are totally normal and an important part of your sexual health.
Missing morning wood?
A sudden loss of morning erections or an inability to get an erection through sexual contact should be evaluated by your urologist. But what if you’re just noticing a slow decline in the frequency or quality of your morning erections? Is this a sign of erectile dysfunction or something else? If you’re not having issues getting or keeping an erection during sex, it is unlikely your lack of morning wood is ED. There are several health-related reasons why you might notice a change in your morning erections.
- High blood pressure and/or high blood pressure medications
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- Sleep apnea
- Peyronie’s disease
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Certain medications, such as antidepressants and diuretics
- Prostate problems
- Aging (ouch, why does this one hit a little harder than the rest?)
Want to supercharge your erections?
Maintaining your overall health is important for your sexual health. Why wait to start seeing age-related decline and changes to your erections and your sex life? There are things you can do to keep your morning wood and your penis performing at a high level no matter your age. Treatments like Duo that increasing blood flow to your penis will lead to harder more satisfying erections, morning or otherwise.