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01st Sep 2022

Three reasons why ‘morning glory’ exists, according to science

Kieran Galpin

Via UnSplash

Apparently it’s due to certain areas of the brain being ‘activated’

A doctor has revealed the main reasons why men occasionally wake up with nocturnal penile tumescence – or as it’s commonly referred to, morning glory.

Most men have undoubtedly experienced the phenomena at least once in their life, usually upon waking up. However while the morning treat is rarely unwanted, you can’t help but question why it occurs.

Well, Sergio Diez Alvarez from The Maitland and Kurri Kurri Hospital and the University of Newcastle has answered this quandary in a recent article with The Conversation.

Via UnSplash

“Nocturnal penile erections occur during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep (the phase during which we dream),” the University of Newcastle speaker wrote.  “They occur when certain areas of the brain are activated.”

Alvarez continued to explain that sleep is made up of several REM and non-REM sleep cycles. During REM sleep, there is a “shift in the dominant system that’s activated.”

“We move from sympathetic (fight and flight) stimulation to parasympathetic (rest and digest) stimulation,” Alvarez said.

Such change spurs response from the parasympathetic nervous system, which, in turn, causes your morning wood. This is why some men experience the morning wood upon waking from REM sleep.

Via UnSplash

“Testosterone, which is at its highest level in the morning, has also been shown to enhance the frequency of nocturnal erections,” he said on the second reason. “Interestingly, testosterone has not been found to greatly impact visual erotic stimuli or fantasy-induced erections.”

He added: “These are predominantly driven by the ‘reward system’ of the brain which secretes dopamine.”

The final reason suggests that the reason for morning wood could be because you have to pee.

“It’s more likely the reason for the morning erection is that the unconscious sensation of the full bladder stimulates nerves that go to the spine and these respond directly by generating an erection (a spinal reflex),” Alvarez wrote.

The more you know!

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