This is the science behind your morning wood

Morning wood is a part of every man’s life ever since he hits puberty. You can pitch the tent but lack actual camping skills. I know it was a lame one! But your morning wood is more than those few obligatory embarrassing moments, and sunrise testosterone rushes. There is a whole detailed science behind it, and surprisingly, it has a scientific name too, nocturnal penile tumescence. 

Morning wood is a part of a man’s sleep cycle. It occurs multiple times during the night when your body is in the rest mode. This happens because, during your sleep cycle, the body switches between the stages of rapid eye movement (non-REM) and deep sleep mode (REM). This process happens for about 4-5 times throughout the night. 

When you enter the state of REM in your sleep, you experience the occurrence of dreams. Moreover, the REM state signals the brain to stop the functioning of certain neurotransmitters. One such neurotransmitter that shuts down during the REM state is norepinephrine that keeps control of penile erections. Norepinephrine causes vasoconstriction in the blood vessels of the penis and thus prevents an erection. In the REM state, there is a decrease in norepinephrine, which allows testosterone to do its work freely. As a result, the penis experiences high blood flow and gets an erection that lasts for about 20-25 minutes. 

According to medical researches, a healthy man has 3-5 erections during the night. These night erections oxygenate the muscles and tissues and maintain the functionality of the body parts. As the body enters the REM stage multiple times, when you wake up, your body experiences the remnants of this stage, which also includes an erect penis. 

Another medical theory regarding morning wood is the bladder being full. During the night, the increased size of the bladder stimulates a particular region of your spinal cord, which, in a reflex action, triggers an erection to prevent you from urinating in sleep. One thing for sure, morning wood is a sign of a healthy male body. So, it is nothing to be embarrassed about. 


No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about health and wellness. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease.
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