Waking with an erection is normal and common among men, but does a lack of morning wood suggest erectile dysfunction? The presence of nighttime erections still remain an important indicator of how your entire body is functioning.
In fact, a healthy man should expect to get hard three to five times per night, says Dr. Köhler.
Erections are a part of the normal sleep cycle and occur multiple times during the night. The body gradually goes through different stages of sleep, from Non-REM sleep to deep sleep. This cycle occurs 4-5 times in the night. As you enter REM sleep, you not only dream, but your body also goes through some physiological changes. One of these changes involves the shutting off your neurotransmitters in an effort to regulate your body and prevent you from acting out your dreams.
They are caused by low levels of norepinephrine.
One of these neurotransmitters happens to be norepinephrine, which is involved in the control of erections. This neurotransmitter is responsible for vasoconstriction of the penis blood vessels, thereby actively preventing erections. It’s basically like a stop sign. When one enters REM sleep, norepinephrine levels decrease and testosterone-related actions are no longer inhibited. This leads to vasodilation i.e. increased blood flow to the blood vessels, resulting in erections.
Don’t worry, morning erections are healthy!
This extra oxygentaion helps the organ repair itself and maintain functionality. So morning erections shouldn’t be a cause of worry. It’s just that one tends to wake up during the REM stage and witness the effect of sleep on the body.
They also prevent prevent you from wetting the bed.
A full bladder can also cause a morning erection, which is basically a reflex erection. The physiological benefit of this is that it prevents you from urinating in your sleep.
What Does It Mean Not To Wake Up With A Morning Erection?
There are a few reasons that a man may not wake up with a morning erection. First, younger adolescent boys who are not fully capable of erections will not likely have one upon awakening. These erections may occur with increasing frequency later in puberty, and into adult life.
Men may not wake with an erection if they’re not coming out of REM sleep at that time. Wakefulness is often preceded by lighter stages of sleep when erections do not occur. It’s also possible to have REM without having an erection. A lack of morning erections may also be a sign of erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence.