Three of the common afflictions that men experience in the morning are blurry eyesight, aching muscles and erection, the last one being popularly known as “morning wood”, “morning glory” or “nocturnal penile tumescence”.
What is the story behind morning erections? Few can explain why they wake up with a ‘hard-on’, so here are some facts that should clear the picture for them and explain one of the top 10 misunderstood phenomenons of the male sexuality.
All the popular remarks regarding this normal body reaction left aside, a morning erection is a natural reaction to the blood flow surging through the body. It does not only rule out the theory that a man must have had a wet dream and therefore get aroused, but it can be rather painful and uncomfortable.
It is important to state from the beginning that not experiencing such an erection on a daily base is not necessarily a sign that you are heaving sexual or hormonal problems. However, prolonged incapacity of reaching the boner on awakening may require some medical investigations.
Considering how important can be for a man to be sexually active and healthy, but, even more concerning, the potential correlation between the lack of nocturnal penile tumescence and erectile dysfunctions, researchers have invested time in analyzing its causes. To this point, there are a few theories available, the most important ones being below presented:
Urine retention theory
According to this belief, the reaction is more of a brain order telling the body that it needs to wake up and release the urine that has accumulated into the bladder throughout the night and now puts pressure on the genitals. A full bladder can release some of its content, which will fill the urethra and therefore engorge the penis, prompting urination.
If the man is laying face down, the discomfort and pain are more than obvious, but he will also avoid accidental bed wetting as he will most likely wake up because of that unpleasant feeling.
The opponents of this theory claim that the body has many other methods to prompt urination, therefore an erection will be less likely to have the same purpose.
Nighttime fantasies and wet dreams
Apparently solely related to sexual dreams, this theory however is closer to one particular stage from the sleeping phases – the one of Rapid Eye Movements, widely known as REM. Researchers analyzing the human body’s reactions during the sleep now know that we alternate deep sleep with REM stages. After several hours, towards morning, when the body energy was mostly restored, REM will predominate.
During that second stage specific neuro-reflexes were detected. As they normally anticipate a sexual act, the brain will send the signals for the genitals to arouse. Wet dreams are brought into discussion because people only dream during the rapid eye movements phase, the possibility of having a sex related dream increasing the odds for the so-called nocturnal pollution.
The conclusion would be that morning wood can be the result of the last REM phase and that depending on how a man sleeps he may or may not experience that stage close to the morning, therefore the lack of the boner. However, it does not mean that the male body did not experience other erections while sleeping, without knowing it.
The body’s defense mechanism
This is probably the less anticipated theory, despite the fact that it is quite simple: during sleep, many important processes are slowed down therefore the body is less responsive to physical stimulation and more vulnerable. The natural healing mechanisms will consequently play its role, increasing the blood flow towards all organs, genitals included. With more blood directed to the penis, the odds for an erection to manifest are higher.
How to handle the lack of morning glory
The studies conducted so far on morning erections analyzed the phenomenon on both younger and older male patients. The results, despite the fact that stressed some normal differences with ageing, less rigidity and less stamina included, did not indicate major disparities.
As a consequence, most doctors only ask questions about it when dealing with patients who claim suffering from erectile dysfunctions. For someone who cannot achieve a boner during the day, when fully conscious and sexually aroused, it is important to verify whether nighttime and morning erections occur in normal conditions.
If you are concerned about this aspect, you first need to analyze whether there are any other physical symptoms, if you are excessively fatigued, if your libido has diminished or how hard you get to climax.
Determining whether it is a sexual dysfunction or only the absence of a long and good quality sleep is the responsibility of a doctor. Discussing the problem with your healthcare practitioner or with an urologist is mandatory.
If you are already undergoing a treatment for such a dysfunction, you can expect for your morning erections to be influenced, some prescription drugs causing them. If you are diagnosed with a medical problem and prescribed with synthetic medication, you should notice changes in short time. Nevertheless, you should consider trying a herbal supplement prior to taking pills based on tadalafil or sildenafil, substances known to cause numerous and dangerous side effects.
As a final recommendation, instead of becoming concerned about this problem, increase your stress levels and affect your performances even more, try to use the experience in order to determine whether you have a physical or a psychological dysfunction. You may sometimes lack the morning erection, but if you discover having nighttime erections, it means that there is nothing wrong with your body, in organic terms. The problems of the daily sex life will therefore be, most likely, psychological.