No morning erection? What morning wood says about your health?
Understand what the absence of a morning erection means.
Have you ever awakened with a solid and erect penis? Well, it is common in youth but also experienced by people of all ages. The medical term for this phenomenon is nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT). Why does it happen? How is it linked to your sexual health? Stay on the page for answers.
While some people link morning erections to virility and sexual stimulation, the cause is not simple. Let me explain the reasons.
Why does nocturnal penile tumescence happen?
No, solid evidence is available. However, some theories try to explain it. These theories focus on hormone levels, dreams, sexual activities, sleep stimulation, etc.
An erection happens when the heart causes more blood flow to the erectile tissues of the penis. What causes the heart to do so? The answer is the brain. The heart receives information from the brain to do so. Let me explain how it works.
During sleep, your body isn't awake but your brain is still functioning. If your partner accidentally touches your genitals, the nervous mechanisms involved in the erection are alerted. It particularly happens in newlywed couples because they are over-exposed to sexual simulations.
You went to sleep for rest, but your brain is still full of sexual fantasies. It is true. Your sexual activities and sexual desires will appear in your dreams. The erotic scenes in the dreams can cause an erection.
Have you any idea about the stages of sleep? It starts from the N1 stage and ends with the REM (rapid eye movement) phase. The N1, N2 and N3 are known as non-REM stages. During REM sleep, the sympathetic division of the nervous system (which controls sex) becomes functional. Vivid dreams are mostly experienced in this stage.
Low cortisol levels in sleep
During a busy day, you have to do a lot of tasks. The stress associated with these tasks suppresses the erection due to the activation of the sympathetic division of the nervous system. The stress levels fall during sleep, and the parasympathetic division of the nervous system is activated, which causes an erection.
Moreover, the body also releases chemicals that suppress the erection. All this will not happen if you are sleeping. So, you can have an erection in the morning.
Hormonal changes during sleep
Testosterone levels are closely related to erection. Levels are at their highest in the early morning when you wake up from the REM phase of sleep. So, you are likely to get an erection even without any sexual stimulation. A natural decline in testosterone levels will reduce the occurrence of NPT.
If you want to boost your testosterone levels, we have written an article that provides many natural methods that you can use. Click here to learn more.
The need to urinate at night
Another possible cause for NPT could be the need to urinate at night. A full bladder can press the sacral nerve which controls the erection. This 'reflex erection' doesn't need any sexual stimulation.
We have detailed the process of erection in another article. Click here to read it.
Is the absence of morning wood a sign of erectile dysfunction?
How the nocturnal erections are related to erectile dysfunction (ED)? The occurrence of NPT is a very good sign of your erectile function. Remember that ED could be due to various biological and psychological factors. Whenever you go to a physician with a complaint of ED, they will ask whether you have NPT or not. If you are still experiencing NPT, your erection physiology is OK.
Earlier research published in the Journal of Impotence Research in 1995 found that a satisfactory NPT was suggestive of psychological causes of ED, as 58% of people with good NPT recovered after psychological treatment.
ED is probably due to psychological factors. If, however, you experience no NPT, both factors can be there, and a thorough investigation is needed. However, it is not the only or the best criteria, and the doctor will consider your testosterone levels, medication history and past diseases to assess the cause of ED.
Should you worry if you have no morning wood?
Sleep-related erections are normal and can occur at any age. But, if you are no longer experiencing any NPT, should you worry? The NPT in the morning means you have an adequate level of nervous stimulation, and your vascular supply is enough for a good erection. It means if you can have an erection while sleeping, you will also be able to get an erection while awakening.
But what if you are no more experiencing morning and nocturnal erections? The morning wood becomes a dream at an advanced age, but it is a warning sign in the youth. It is particularly important if it suddenly disparages. It could be due to an underlying health issue.
It could mean something is going wrong in the body, preventing erection. There could be a problem with the nerve stimulation, blood supply etc. The other cause can include;
Depression and anxiety
High cholesterol, blood pressure and issues with blood vessels
You are using antidepressants or pain killers
Lack of physical stimulation
When do you need to consult a doctor?
Although there is little to worry about and its occurrence decreases with increasing age, you need a piece of professional medical advice if,
The NPT suddenly disappears in the youth
There are painful and prolonged erections
There is pus or blood in the ejaculate (if you also have ejaculation)
It is disturbing your sleep
The younger men experience erections in the early morning called the 'morning wood'. A normal morning wood is a sign of good sexual health, adequate nervous stimulation and blood supply to the penis. It occurs due to a variety of reasons. It also means you are capable of erection while awakening.
But, it is time to have a sexual consultation if NPT suddenly stops and the erections are annoying and painful. However, its incidence also declines with age, and there is nothing to worry about if you can have a good erection.
If you have any issues related to the NPT, you can click here to have an online consultation with our sexual health experts.
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