Nairobi News


Ladies, here is why men get erections in the middle of the night

Andrew and Rose, his wife, had a bad argument which nearly became a fight. The next day they were in the clinic early seeking answers to a rather trivial issue.

“He is sleeping with other women, if he is not why is he having erections in the middle of the night that I have not provoked!” Rose exclaimed.

“She thinks I am having erections in my sleep and in the morning because I have another woman that I am think and dreaming about,” Andrew explained.

I nodded with understanding. I realised that I needed to explain to this couple why men get erections in their sleep and on waking up.


The couple has been married for seven years and has three children. Because of too much work, Andrew is always exhausted at the time of going to bed. As a result their sex life has reduced to about once a week.

Rose was however suspicious of Andrew. She did not believe that the low frequency of sex was a result of exhaustion. Her fears were confirmed when she noted that Andrew was having erections in his sleep and in the morning.

“I keep wondering who it is that he is imagining and dreaming about,” she said.

Well, a healthy man actually gets spontaneous erections approximately every 90 minutes in his sleep. The erections last about 20 to 30 minutes. If a man sleeps for eight hours a day, he will have up to five erections in the night.

The erections get stronger as the morning approaches and by the time the man wakes up, he has a strong erection to start off the day!

“You mean a man will be erect for almost two hours in a sleep of eight hours?” Rose asked frowning. I nodded in affirmation; a man is erect 25 per cent of his sleep time!


The night and morning erections are a sign of good health. If you are not getting these erections it could be a sign of a serious disease.

In men with diabetes and hypertension, for example, the diseases damage blood vessels. Patent blood vessels are important for erections to happen. Hence, loss of night and morning erections can be the first symptom of a generalised blood vessel problem that can later lead to a stroke of heart attack.

Further, loss of night and morning erections can herald the problem of high cholesterol. High cholesterol also damages blood vessels.

Hormone problems also are also characterised by loss of nocturnally occurring erections. The testosterone hormone is responsible for sexual function. When it is low erections disappear. Other hormone derangements that also lead to similar erection failures are prolactin and thyroid hormones.


These regular erections can also cease when one has poor sleep.

“Let me ask, you are trying to prove to me and Rose that I am better off with erections in my sleep?” Andrew asked, a broad smile painted all over his face.

“Well, yes,” I answered back.

“Case over, let us go home,” Andrew said standing up to leave.

“But then you need to have work-life balance, I still insist that I deserve better intimacy,” Rose answered hesitant to leave my office.

I offered to provide them with couple therapy to regain their lost intimacy. Over the two months that followed I had four therapy meetings with them.