Morning arousal, also known as morning glory,morning wood, or scientifically as nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) is an involuntary erection that occur during sleep or while waking up.

NPT is said to actually start from the womb and continues throughout life and surprisingly, other mammals as well as women also experience similar yet less visually noticeable engorgement of the clitoris and vagina.


The cause of early morning arousal is not fully understood. However, studies suggest that they occur during the phase of sleep known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
Averagely,  all men without physiological erectile dysfunction will have between three and five erections in a full night sleep, with each erection lasting between 25 -35 minutes.

It is suggested that during REM sleep, the activity of noradrenergic cells (neurons that release the neurotransmitter noradrenaline) is reduced and these cells are said to be  associated with the inhibitory tone of the penis. As a result of this reduced activity, testosterone-dependent excitatory tones are expressed which result in an erection.
It’s also been suggested that during REM sleep, nitric oxide (NO) is released by cells that line the inside of blood vessels which then diffuses into smooth muscle, causing it to relax and dilate. Hence there is increased blood flow to the penis leading to an erection.



Morning erection are believed to contribute to the health of your penis.  Erections cause the erectile tissue (corpora cavernosa) to swell, which in turn oxygenates the tissue. This oxygenation maintains its viability and helps to prevent cavernous fibrosis, a condition that can ultimately lead to erectile dysfunction.

Medically, morning erections have been used as one of the tools in determining erectile dysfunction. If a man attains little or no erection, one of the first things a doctor will determine is whether or not he is getting full erections during the night and in the morning. However, it is not a total indicator of function or dysfunction.


Recent studies have shown that there is a slight gradual decrease in the frequency of morning erections in men as they age. Younger men seem to have more frequent morning erections than older men.

However, if you don’t experience morning erections that are accompanied by a lack of erections overall it may suggest a physical rather than psychological cause.  Men with erectile dysfunction or impotence may not be capable of having an erection or they may have an erection that is not firm enough to achieve penetration. If you experience any of these, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR!

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