Men sometimes wake up from your deep sleep to find that not every part of you is sleeping. Nightly erections, sometimes referred to as morning wood, or sleeping boners are pretty darn normal because you so often encounter them once you finally wake up. They can really be.
Adam Ramin, M.D., a urologist and clinical director of Urology Cancer Specialists in Los Angeles, says that frequent nighttime erections will potentially signal that the body is in good shape and this can act as an example of how the whole body functions.
The morning penile arousal, or “nocturnal penile tumescence” as it is medically called, is not just a curious anatomical occurrence, it can teach us a lot about the sexual activity of a patient as well.
All men including men in the womb and male infants are affected by morning penile erections. In the less commonly discussed nocturnal clitoral erection, it often has a female equivalent.
What causes erections?
Penile erections occur as a response to the complex processes of our endocrine and nervous systems. A message begins in the brain, when sexually stimulated, transmitting chemical signals to the nerves that feed the penile blood vessels, causing blood to flow through the penis. The blood gets trapped in the muscles of the penis, which makes the penis swell, resulting in an erection. Several hormones, including testosterone, the primary male hormone are involved in controlling the brain’s reaction.
In an involuntary reflex movement that is in the spinal cord, this same process will occur without the intervention of the mind. This illustrates why those with spinal cord injury can still have erections and why, when not sexually aroused, you can get erections.
However, the question is still left open: what is the purpose of this automated response? Really, no one knows. The emergence of nocturnal erections has no true purpose. They are just a by-product of the parasympathetic nervous system’s natural stimulation at night.
Thus even though researchers are not sure why they occur, urologist Tobias Köhler, M.D., M.P.H., stated previously, sleeping boners might end up helping your arousal in the longer term. Such erections leave the penile tissue stretchy and smooth. They also promote relaxing of the smooth muscles of your foreskin, allowing the blood to flood in and harden you. For when you are awake and require it, that keeps it in fighting shape. Dr Köhler suggests that without this routine sleep exercise, the muscles can get too rigid, and gradually the size of the erect penis can reduce.
Although it is sometimes hard to decide whether you have the right amount of overnight erections, whether you wake up at night, you can either feel them or often wake up at the full mast.
If you don’t do so, or if you do not feel it as much, Dr Ramin recommends that you may like to mention it to your doctor. Any medical conditions, such as nerve damage, arterial disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes, may be at play. You may also have lower testosterone and men whose levels drop below normal appear to have fewer boners at night, as per University of California studies.
Sometimes anxiety or depression may contribute to dysfunction of the parasympathetic nerve, impacting both your daytime and nighttime erections. The right thing to do is to have it checked out if you experience a difference in your overnight boners. And try these fitness tricks on how to stay tough and get better erections.
A helpful predictor of common disorders influencing erectile function may be the absence of nocturnal arousal. One instance is in diabetics, where erectile dysfunction due to inadequate nerve or blood flow to the penis can be linked with the absence of morning erections. In this scenario, during sleep, there is a weak response to the signals received from the brain that cause boners while sleeping.
It is believed that nocturnal erections should be used as a marker of an anatomical capacity to get an erection, as it was believed to be autonomous of psychological causes that cause erections when awake. It is an indication that the vital body parts function. However, research has shown that mental health conditions such as extreme depression can impact nocturnal erections. Therefore, its lack is not usually an indicator of disorder or reduced levels of testosterone.
In males taking erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra, the incidence of morning erections and erection rate has also been found to improve marginally. In order to prevent and even cure erectile dysfunction, keeping a balanced lifestyle is crucial, so it is important to remember to eat healthily, keep a healthy weight, exercise and avoid smoke and alcohol.
Should I be worried?
To produce a powerful erection, so many things have to go well for you.
Studies also showed that the consistency of sleep could be associated with waking up aroused. While you’re in the sleep stage known as rapid eye movement or REM, Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) occurs. This can occur many times through the night. This implies that you may have a few erections in your night.
You wake up toward the end of the REM sleep period most of the time, which is why NPT tends to arise in the morning. Sleep from REM is really necessary. We sleep at that time and our minds are most involved. It is here that our memory strengthens. You spend less of your sleep in REM as you get older – which could justify why the memory of adults gets weaker as they grow older.
To transfer blood to the penis, you have to unleash hormones on-demand and dilate arteries. Your nervous system must perfectly communicate messages and your mind must be in sync with your body. Although some men would bring their nightly erections to productive use when they have them, many men are not aroused and tummy sleepers might find them an inconvenience.
As good cardiac health is linked with an opportunity to get erections, it is widely agreed that the existence of nightly erections is good news and there’s really no need to worry over it.