Whether you refer to it as your morning glory, your morning wood, or nocturnal penile tumescence (the scientific name for your morning erection), most men are more than familiar with waking up hard.
Morning erections are a perfectly normal and healthy phenomena, and for the vast majority of us, are something that’s as much a part of the start of our days as brushing our teeth or struggling to get out of bed, get dressed, and get ready for work.
Morning wood is something that’s experienced by men of all ages, and it’s the direct result of one or more of several different processes, including hormone changes during sleep, brain relaxation, or unconscious stimulation of the penis.
What’s more, it’s also a pretty solid indication of our overall health, as it demonstrates that our vascular and nervous systems are working properly.
In fact, the absence of a morning erection - either occasionally, regularly, or consistently - could be a warning sign that you might be suffering from erectile dysfunction issues, which could be an early sign for something more serious.
In this blog, we’re going to be taking a quick look at morning erections, why they occur, and what they signify as regards your sexual or general health.
We’ll also be considering what it means when your morning wood fails to make an appearance, and what this suggests when it comes to your overall wellbeing. Read on to find out more!
The reasons behind morning wood
There’s plenty of debate about exactly why morning erections occur in most men. However, the scientific community agrees that the following factors are the most prevalent and likely in the vast majority of the male population:
Your body goes through a surprising number of chemical changes while you sleep, which is part of the reason why getting those eight hours per night is so important. Among other processes, your body produces larger amounts of testosterone - the male sex hormone - just after waking up, which could be the reason most men have an erection in the early mornings.
During sleep, your cortisol levels drop. Cortisol is a hormone which can decrease your ability to maintain an erection, and with less cortisol in your bloodstream and a higher quantity of testosterone, erections become more likely.
Whether you sleep alone or with a partner, it’s pretty likely that your penis is going to be in contact with something - either another body, your bed sheets, or just your pyjamas - during the night. As you unconsciously move around, you might be stimulating your penis physically, which could be another factor for waking up with morning wood.
All three of these different factors most likely play a part in the occurrence of a morning glory. However, if one or more of them is in some way deficient (for example, you experience a drop in your testosterone levels as a result of age or another chemical reason), your morning erection might not make its expected appearance.
Morning wood as an indicator of erectile health
As mentioned previously, your morning glory is a fairly reliable indicator that your body is physiologically capable of achieving and maintaining an erection, and that you aren’t experiencing symptoms of ED.
While it’s normal to occasionally not experience morning wood, frequent flaccidity after waking up does indicate underlying health issues, such as physical erectile dysfunction or hormonal problems which result in a struggle to gain an erection.
If you’re noticing that your morning erection has stopped making its daily appearance, you should check to see whether or not your body has stopped producing erections during sleep.
Most men will experience up to five erections per night while sleeping (and sometimes, a lack of morning wood can be the result of simply waking up unnaturally or before you’re ready), and it’s well worth checking if your body is producing erections during the night, even if you’re waking up without your usual morning wood.
If you’re consistently waking up without your morning wood, you would be advised to think carefully about the root cause that’s leading to this issue. The most likely causes are as follows:
Most of the time, a lack of morning glory can be put down to hormonal and health issues. Low testosterone is a likely culprit, as are complications caused by obesity, diabetes, high or low blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
It’s important to recognise that psychological and mental health issues can also affect our sexual and physical well-being. Anxiety, stress, depression, and exhaustion from work or emotional difficulties often lead to symptoms of ED.
As men get older, their bodies tend to produce less testosterone. Men in their 60s, 70s, and above frequently find that their morning wood starts to fade as a result of chemical changes that come with old age.
Another common cause of a lack of morning wood is the use of prescription medication - especially painkillers and antidepressants - or recreational drug use. The chemicals in such substances and the way that they affect the body’s normal processes often lead to physical ED or a reduction in the frequency and potency of erections.
What should I do if my morning wood stops occurring?
Occasionally experiencing a lack of morning wood isn’t something to get too concerned about. It really is something that most men will encounter at some point in their lives, and then there’s a whole host of reasons unconnected to ED that may be to blame.
If you’re concerned about erectile dysfunction or what a consistent lack of morning wood might mean, it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional about your concerns. There may well be an underlying psychological or physiological reason behind it which is best dealt with sooner than later, and if it’s down to your lifestyle choices, general health, or medication use, a doctor will be able to provide advice that should help resolve the issue.