Health Checkup: Why Men Wake Up With Erections


(MENAFN – The Conversation)

Morning penile erection, or as it is medically called “nocturnal penile tumescence”, is not only an interesting physiological phenomenon, it can also tell us a lot about a patient’s sexual function.

Morning penile erections affect all men, even male children. It also has a female counterpart in the less frequently discussed nocturnal clitoral erection.

What causes erections?

Penile erections occur in response to complex effects of the nervous system and the endocrine system (the glands that secrete hormones in our system) on the blood vessels of the penis.

When sexually aroused, a message begins in the brain, sending chemical messages to the nerves that supply the blood vessels in the penis, allowing blood to flow into the penis. Blood gets trapped in the muscles of the penis, causing the penis to expand, resulting in an erection.

Several hormones are involved in influencing the brain’s response, such as testosterone (the main male hormone).

This same mechanism can occur without the involvement of the brain, in an uncontrolled reflex action that is located in the spinal cord. This explains why people with spinal cord injuries can still get erections and why you can get erections without sexual arousal.

What about erections while we sleep?

Nocturnal penile erections occur during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep (the phase in which we dream). They occur when activated. This includes areas of the brain responsible for stimulation of parasympathetic nerves (‘rest and digest’ nerves), suppression of sympathetic nerves (‘flight and fight’ nerves) and dampening areas (the mood hormone ).

Sleep is made up of several cycles of REM and non-REM (deep) sleep. During REM sleep, there is a change in the dominant system that is activated. We move from sympathetic stimulation (fight and flight) to parasympathetic stimulation (rest and digest). This is not found during other parts of the sleep cycle.

This shift in balance results in the parasympathetic nerve response which results in the erection. This is spontaneous and does not require being awake. Some men may also experience nocturnal penile tumescence during non-REM sleep, especially older men. The reason is unclear.

The reason men wake up with an erection may have to do with the fact that we often wake up from REM sleep.

Testosterone, which is at its highest in the morning, has also been shown to increase the frequency of nocturnal erections. Interestingly, testosterone has visual erotic stimuli or fantasy-induced erections. These are primarily driven by the brain’s “reward system” which secretes dopamine.

Men don’t wake up with erections because they had sexy dreams. of

Since there are several cycles of sleep per night, men can have up to five erections per night and these can last up to 20 or 30 minutes. But much depends on the quality of sleep, and therefore they may not occur daily. The number and quality of erections gradually decrease with age but they are often present well beyond “retirement age” – attesting to the sexual well-being of older men.

It is also important to highlight the counterpart phenomenon in women, which is much less studied. Pulse of blood flow in the vagina during REM sleep. Vaginal and vaginal sensitivity increases with vaginal fluidity.

What is his goal ?

It has been suggested that “pitching a tent” could be a mechanism to alert men to their full bladder at night, as it often disappears after emptying the bladder in the morning.

It is more likely that the reason for the morning erection is that the unconscious sensation of a full bladder stimulates the nerves that go to the spine and these react directly by generating an erection (a spinal reflex). This may explain why the erection disappears after emptying the bladder.

are undecided whether morning erections contribute to penile health. An increase in oxygen to the penis at night can benefit the health of the muscle tissues that make up the penis.

What does it mean if you don’t receive one?

Loss of nocturnal erection can be a useful marker for common diseases affecting erectile function. An example is where the lack of morning erections can be associated with erectile dysfunction due to poor nerve or blood supply to the penis. In this case, there is a poor response to messages sent by the brain during sleep that generate nocturnal erections.

It is thought that nocturnal erections can be used as a marker of an anatomical ability to achieve an erection (a sign that essential parts of the body are functioning), as they were thought to be independent of psychological factors that affect erections during sex. awakening. , however, that mental health disorders such as severe depression can affect nocturnal erections. So, its absence is from disease or low testosterone levels.

The frequency of morning erections and the quality of erection increase slightly in men taking erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra.

So, is all this morning action good news?

While some men will make good use of their nocturnal erections, many men don’t get aroused when they have them and stomach sleepers might find them bothersome.

Since good heart health is associated with the ability to have erections, the presence of nocturnal erections is generally accepted as good news. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important in erectile dysfunction, so it’s important to remember to eat healthy, maintain a healthy weight, exercise, and exercise.


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