Everything You Wanted to Know About Morning Wood
Morning wood, whose scientific name is nocturnal penile tumescence, is a healthy physiological process that happens to men at all stages in their lives. Morning erections are really the end of a series of 3-5 erections that men get during a full night’s sleep. Morning wood is an indicator of good health.
Learn why you do (or possibly don’t) get morning wood below.
Why Do I Get Morning Wood?
Erections are caused by blood flowing to the penis. During the day, this happens because of some kind of arousal. While you sleep, however, the causes of erections aren’t mental, but physical.
Here’s what’s given you morning wood:
1. REM Sleep
The stage of sleep in which dreams occur, REM brings about a number of changes to the neurotransmitters in the brain. These changes are designed to (a) keep your brain healthy (b) tune-up your body and (c) keep you from acting out your dreams.
One of these transmitters, norepinephrine (pronounced Nor-UH-pen-EF-rin) works actively during the day to restrict your blood vessels to keep you from having poorly-timed erections. In fact, norepinephrine is so instrumental in regulating erections that it’s one of the reasons why adolescents experience unwanted boners: this neurotransmitter is very much in flux during puberty.
When males sleep, the norepinephrine in their brains levels off, opening up the blood vessels and bringing about erections.
Morning wood is just the night’s remains of this process. As you wake, norepinephrine levels return to normal, but it takes a little time.
2. A Full Bladder
3. Erectile Dysfunction Prescriptions
Men who take ED meds like Viagra and Cialis the night before, may wake to find their morning wood particularly strong.
Why Don’t I Get Morning Wood?
As morning wood is a daily occurrence in most healthy men, those who don’t wake up to an erection might naturally feel a little concerned. As you’ll read below, most of the causes have straightforward solutions.
1. Antidepressants and Other Prescription Drugs
Because neurotransmitters are responsible for keeping unwanted erections at bay, antidepressants and other psychiatric medications that interact with neurotransmitters can affect one’s ability to get erections at night. Because erections are an important part of men’s reproductive and cardiovascular health, you should, ahem, manually encourage 2-3 of them during the day. Ejaculation is optional.
Other prescription drugs that can affect morning wood are either related to cardiovascular health (blood pressure or cholesterol medication) or diabetes.
2. You’re Waking Up At a Weird Time
Because nocturnal erections occur only during REM sleep, you might miss your morning wood if your alarm is waking you up while you’re in a different sleep state. This doesn’t necessarily mean nocturnal erections aren’t happening. It just means you’re missing them. If you wake up exhausted in addition to waking up soft, adjust your sleep patterns and try to get on a cycle that’s better for your body.
Most people wake up in the morning with an erection because they have to pee. If this is not you, then you may need to drink more water and avoid dehydrating beverages like coffee, soda, and alcohol.
If you masturbate too hard or too often, you may become desensitized to sexual stimuli and therefore, less responsive to more subtle caresses. In this case, your lack of morning wood is a warning to back off. If you don’t adjust your masturbation habits, you could be on a path to desensitizing yourself to the point where you won’t be able to orgasm without your hand.
5. Declining Testosterone
Adequate testosterone is necessary to having strong, healthy erections. For most men, levels peak at around 6 am, which means that a lack of morning wood might be a particular indication of declining testosterone. Those who are over 50 or overweight are particularly prone to lower testosterone levels. The fastest way for anyone to restore their levels is to exercise. Other methods include avoiding soy and switching to chemical-free deodorants and cosmetics.
6. Poor Cardiovascular Health
Having trouble with morning wood could be an early sign of declining cardiovascular health because it indicates that your body is having trouble getting blood to the vessels in the penis. Because these vessels are smaller and more delicate than those of other parts of the body, having trouble getting blood there could indicate that your whole system is aging and becoming hard. Again, exercise is the prescription for keeping the blood vessels free and clear of plaque. If you don’t get moving, you you are opening yourself up to heart attacks or strokes in the future.