In Health Tips by Oluwaseun Samuel on the 08th, September, 2018

Causes of Morning Erections in Men

Men often wake up with an erection first thing in the morning, but what causes morning wood or morning erections? Learn about this phenomenon, why it is associated with REM sleep, and what it might mean if it doesn’t occur.

Morning Erections and the Role of Sleep Stage

Morning erections might actually relate to the timing of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. As part of normal sleep patterns, called sleep architecture, transitions occur throughout the night between the various sleep stages. As morning approaches, the REM period becomes prolonged. The last third of the night may be predominated by REM sleep. Therefore, when you first wake up, you are often coming out of REM sleep.

In addition to the vivid movie-like dreams that are characteristic of REM sleep, the penis also becomes erect and engorged with blood during these periods. This is due to the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system affecting the sacral nerve. This is technically called penile tumescence. When this occurs in the morning, the stiffened penis may be referred to in slang terms as “morning wood” or “morning glory.”

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