If the perforations were torn in the morning, that was good news: It meant the guys popped an erecti0n overnight, says Tobias Köhler, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor and residency program director of the urology division at Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine.
While medical testing has grown more sophisticated and urologists no longer generally use the “stamp test,” the presence of nighttime erecti0ns still remain an important indicator of how your entire body is functioning. In fact, a healthy man should expect to get hard three to five times per night, says Dr. Köhler. Obviously you won’t know what happens after you go to bed. But if you’re not waking up with an erecti0n on occasion, it’s time to see a doctor.
Why Morning Wood Occurs
During the day, your brain releases a chemical called noradrenaline, a hormone that hinders erecti0ns. When you sleep, however, your brain releases less of it. This makes those nighttime b0ners more likely to pop up. They happen sporadically throughout the night, so whether you wake up with one or not is just up to chance.
What Morning Wood Says About Your Health
Consistently having erecti0ns while you sleep indicates healthy blood flow to your pen!s, which is also necessary for getting hard when you’re turned on. So if you experience erecti0n problems when you’re trying to get busy—but you pop them overnight or when you wake up in the morning—that points more to a psychological cause of your ED, like performance anxiety or depression, says Dr. Köhler. But if you haven’t been experiencing erecti0ns at night either, that signals that blood flow to your pen!s may be an issue. This is a common characteristic of underlying conditions like heart disease, blocked blood vessels, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
How Nighttime Erecti0ns Benefit Your Pen!s
Morning wood also serves another important function: It keeps your pen!s in fighting shape for when it needs to stand at attention in the bedroom. “Your pen!s is a ‘use it or lose it’ organ,” says Dr. Köhler. Frequent erecti0ns—say, multiple times a night—keep your pen!le tissue soft and stretchy, Dr. Köhler explains. They also prompt the smooth muscle in your pen!s to relax, which allows the blood to rush in and get you hard. It’s important this happens often, because the stretchiness of your pen!s decreases if the smooth muscles stay contracted for too long, Dr. Köhler says. Without a regular relaxing-contracting workout, the length of your erect pen!s may actually shorten.
What To Do If You Don’t Get Morning Wood
Don’t worry if you notice a slight decrease in the number of days you wake with morning wood, Dr. Köhler says. You might still be experiencing erecti0ns during the night, and just not waking up during one. But see your doctor if you wake up without a morning erecti0n for several months. A complete loss of them can signal depression, chronic stress, or underlying health issues like heart disease. It’s also one of the first signs of low testosterone. Treating the underlying issues—say, with statins to clear out cholesterol-clogged veins or testosterone replacement therapy for guys whose levels tested low—can often improve your erecti0ns, says Dr. Köhler.