From the Mailbag…
What does morning wood mean?
I think it’s an erection that happens while you sleep, but I’m not clear on exactly when you’re supposed to get them?
You got it right, morning wood is an involuntary erection that occurs while you’re asleep.
And you should achieve these erections 3 to 5 times nightly during your rapid eye movement (REM) sleep patterns.
These nighttime boners, which go by the scientific name of Nocturnal Penile Tumescence, are vital for penile health.
Because this is when the body rebuilds and repairs itself, and these nocturnal woodies are a clear signal that everything is working right for you downstairs.
Morning wood can also be used as a diagnostic tool for men suffering from ED.
As a matter of fact, Urologists monitor these morning erections to determine whether erectile dysfunction cases are caused by physical or psychological issues.
According to a study published in The Urologic Clinics of North America, morning wood monitoring….
Remains the best single non-invasive examination to distinguish between organic and psychogenic impotence (source).
What this means is…
If a man achieves morning wood even once during REM sleep, his ED is most likely caused by psychological (mental) issues…..because sick men with blocked pipes don’t get them.
Now lets move on to your timing question….
Classically defined morning wood (nocturnal penile tumescence) normally happens between the hours of 2 and 5 am.
But the erections that pop up closer to 6am are not always linked with REM sleep…or the building and repair process that occurs during tumescence.
These erections are influenced by the amount of urine in your bladder and your testosterone levels, which are usually at their highest point when you wake up.
For example, one of the first things hypogonadal men notice when they go on testosterone replacement therapy, is the return of this 6-7 am wood.
So testosterone clearly plays a big role with these erections…that should arrive right about the time you get out of bed.
Now here’s the deal…
In my opinion, you want to see wood in Both of these cases, because each are indicators of optimal sexual health.
I’ve written extensively about the importance of classic nocturnal penile tumescence, here.
But the morning wood you should get between 6-7 am is just as important, because these erections are indicators of excellent hormonal health.
As a matter of fact, you can use these to gauge how well you’re doing hormonally, as free testosterone is tightly linked to erections between 6-7 am.
Conversely, high estrogen levels will shut these morning woodies down, so they provide a snapshot of this hormone as well
So if you’re lacking wood when you first get up, it’s very likely you have low free testosterone, high estrogen, or a combination of both.
(assuming your pipes are clean)
But there’s another androgen at work here….
DHT plays a big part in this process as well, and unfortunately, many men are doing things that terminate DHT production.
If you’ve ever used a DHT blocker such as saw palmetto, propecia or dutasteride, you’ve probably experienced this first hand, as all three of these execute morning wood.
As a matter of fact, I get more emails from hair loss- enlarged prostate sufferers than any other group, because most are using one or more of these DHT blocking agents.
You can read more on this subject here under the headline….DHT Blocking Agents & Erectile Dysfunction.
To sum up, if you wake up frequently between the hours of 2-5 am with a hard erection, you can be confident that nocturnal penile tumescence is operating exactly as it should.
And if you also wake up on most days between 6 and 7 am with solid morning wood…
You can be fairly confident that you have decent free testosterone levels, plenty of DHT, and that your estrogen levels are well within the safety zone.
But…if you’re lacking wood in either of these cases, you need to address the situation, because your ability to achieve solid erections during waking hours depends on it.
If you fall into this camp, I suggest you read this article.