Did you know that not all erections are created equal!?
Morning Wood

While most are the product of some form of physical stimulation, other erections can happen without conscious realization.

Morning wood is a common phenomenon that most men have had the pleasure of waking up to.

So, why do guys get morning wood?

The answer is fairly simple. Read on to learn more.

In this article:

Note: Read the whole article or scroll down to the KEY TAKEAWAYS section at the end of this article for a short summary.

What is Morning Wood?

The good news is that morning wood is generally an indicator of healthy erectile function and is not something to be concerned about!

What is Morning Wood?

Morning wood, or nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) for short, is the phenomenon of having a non-sexually stimulated erection upon waking up in the morning.

Though sometimes surprising, the good news is that morning wood is generally an indicator of healthy erectile function and is not something to be concerned about.

Why Does Morning Wood Happen?

Many experts have weighed in on the cause of morning wood– some believe that dreams might have something to do with it, while others say a morning erection happens to prevent urination caused by having a full bladder.

While both may be involved, the actual cause behind morning wood revolves around the parasympathetic nervous system being flicked on during sleep. This system, which is associated with our rest and digestion responses, regulates our heart rate and redirects our blood supply.

These changes typically happen during a specific phase of our sleep cycle, causing more blood to flow to the erectile tissue in the penis.

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Morning Wood and the Sleep Cycle

Testosterone levels increase during REM to replace norepinephrine, stimulating vasodilation of the blood vessels.

While sound asleep, our body naturally goes through several stages of sleep.

These sleep stages include:

  • Stage 1: This is a light sleep stage where we slip into mild drowsiness.
  • Stage 2: This is a deeper sleep stage where the body temperature decreases, the heart rate slows, and the brain waves become relaxed.
  • Stage 3: This is a deep sleep stage characterized by the slowest brain waves. It isn't easy to wake someone during this stage.
  • REM (Rapid Eye Movement): This stage is an essential part of our sleep cycle, where we experience vivid dreams, busy brain activity, and... morning wood

During the REM sleep stage, we dream more, and other important physiological changes occur as well.

It is when the brain turns off neurotransmitter release, particularly norepinephrine, which generally prevents erectile activity due to its role in vasoconstriction.

Testosterone levels increase during REM to replace norepinephrine, stimulating vasodilation of the blood vessels. This causes an increase in healthy blood flow to provide more oxygen to the organs, muscles, and brain to help repair and maintain functionality.

When the body gets more blood, so does the penis! Our sleep cycle happens between 4-5 times every night. While we might have up to five erections in a single night, we don't always notice them.

However, we usually wake up out of REM, so we notice our morning erections when we wake up from our slumber.

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Sleep-Related Painful Erections

Vascular factors: issues related to improper blood flow and circulation may contribute to penile pain during sleep

There is a form of NPT known as sleep-related painful erections (SRPE), which is a rare condition that causes deep penile pain and interrupted sleep. Typically, individuals who experience SRPE have normal or non-painful erections while awake.

According to research, SRPE may be caused by:

  • Psychological factors: stress, anxiety, depression, or other unresolved mental health issues may contribute to painful nocturnal erections
  • Neurological factors: nerve damage, particularly in the pelvic region, may be responsible for painful nighttime erections
  • Vascular factors: issues related to improper blood flow and circulation may contribute to penile pain during sleep

While this condition may not be a significant health issue, speaking to a medical professional about pain management is important.

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What To Do About Morning Wood

Urinating: the need to empty your bladder can help your erect penis go down a little faster

It's very common for some young men to try and prevent their morning wood. No matter how hard you try, you'll soon realize there is no way to do this.

Nighttime erections are perfectly normal!

Most men find that their morning wood goes away anywhere within a few minutes to 30 minutes.

If you're in a hurry, here are some helpful strategies to get your morning wood under control:

  • Urinating: the need to empty your bladder can help your erect penis go down a little faster
  • Physical activity: engaging in light exercise or stretching can waken the senses and redirect blood flow to other muscles
  • Through distraction: switching your thoughts over to non-sexual thoughts can help distract your mind and resolve your morning wood
  • Cold shower: hopping into cold water is sure to put an end to your morning wood
  • Time: when in doubt, wait it out!
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FAQs

Why do men get morning wood?

Morning wood, also known in medical terms as nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT), is a natural bodily response in men. It happens at a point in the sleep cycle where blood flow is redirected to the penile tissues just before you wake up.

Is it normal to have morning wood every morning?

Yes, it's entirely normal for men to experience morning wood.

What if I have morning wood but still have erectile dysfunction?

Although morning erections are generally a positive sign of healthy physiological functioning, persistent issues in achieving and maintaining an erection with sexual stimulation may be either a physical or psychological issue (or both).

Speak to a healthcare professional if you're struggling with erectile dysfunction.

At what age do you lose morning wood?

Although most morning erections arise more frequently in boys and younger men, they may decrease in frequency with age. It may be linked to hormonal changes, sexual health and erectile functioning.

It's important to note that the absence of morning wood does not necessarily indicate a problem.

Is morning wood ever related to wet dreams?

While these are both natural physiological occurrences, they are not directly related. Wet dreams, also known as nocturnal emissions, happen when you have an orgasm during sleep, causing an involuntary ejaculation.

ALSO READ: What's your best sex position? Let's find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Morning wood is a natural phenomenon that is not stimulated by sexual arousal
  • It happens several times per night and is most often related to the part of our sleep cycle just before we wake up
  • While there is no way of preventing morning wood, there are ways to get rid of it a little quicker
  • Healthy nocturnal erections should not be painful. Seek medical advice if you're struggling with painful nighttime erections
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Medical Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to give medical advice or substitute for the medical advice of a physician.

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