The Lamen

Morning erections are a sign of good health

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Morning erections are a sign of good health, and it’s the lack of “morning wood” that should get you worried.

Photo: Unsplash

Published on Dec 6, 2023

Officially known as “nocturnal penile tumescence” or NPTs, morning erections are an indication that you’re in good health. Most men experience an estimated three to five erections every night when asleep — with younger men experiencing these erections more often.

Morning erections are associated with the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of the sleep cycle, and not just sexual arousal. During REM sleep, sympathetic stimulation shifts to parasympathetic (rest and digest) stimulation — causing morning erections.

  • Testosterone levels generally peak in the morning, which could also explain these erections.
  • The drop in testosterone levels around age 40 is also believed to make morning erections less frequent in older males.
  • Morning wood is also associated with a full bladder, as the erection typically disappears when you relieve yourself in the morning.

NPTs indicate a healthy supply of blood to your penis and optimal hormone levels. While scientists debate how morning erections might affect sexual health, the loss of these erections is often a sign of erectile dysfunction (ED).

  • Common causes of ED include obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Psychological causes like stress, anxiety, and depression are also commonly associated with it.
  • Certain antidepressants and high blood pressure medications can also make morning erections less frequent, or make them stop altogether.

Why it matters: Because physiological factors cannot interfere with nocturnal erections, the evaluation of NPTs can often help in recognizing whether your erectile dysfunction is psychological or not.

If you believe you are experiencing ED, talk to your healthcare provider about getting a physical exam. The condition is temporary in most cases, and can often be fixed with lifestyle changes.