How to get a great erection

Erectile dysfunction is not just about getting or maintaining and erection. Men of all ages deal with lack of sensitivity, short duration, and lack of firmness. Research shows that 70% of men experience ED by the time they are 70 starting as early as 20 years old. All of these common occurrences can be optimized. 

Lifestyle changes

These hacks are the low hanging fruit (pun intended) to optimize your erections without a monetary cost. 

Exercise– Research shows 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise three times per week is needed for improved erections. The key is to get your heart rate above resting and to break a sweat. Your heart and your hard on both rely on blood flow so it makes sense that they would be linked. The blood vessels in the penis are about 1-2mm, whereas the blood vessels to the heart are 3-4mm. Research shows erectile dysfunction is an early sign of clogged arteries which could lead to heart disease, hypertension, heart attack or stroke down the road.  So get your sweat on to improve your health and your erections.

Nutrition– Eat your fruits and veggies. Vegetables rich in nitrate and nitrites can be converted into nitric oxide (NO). NO is the key molecule to get an erection. Foods rich in NO include green leafy vegetables (kale, arugula, spinach), beets, radishes, cabbage. Fruits can provide us with antioxidants that can help protect tissues in the body and lower risks for cardiovascular disease. A healthy diet does not mean you have to lose weight but instead improve the quality of the food you eat. Your erections are what you eat!

Limit Alcohol– A few drinks may get you in the mood but any more than that can be a “Debbie downer” for erections. Alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant decreasing overall arousal making it difficult to get and maintain an erection.

Evaluate your stress – 75% of Americans report having stress that impacts mental and physical health. Common issues that can lead to ED include performance anxiety, relationships, jobs, and financial burdens. Psychological factors are the most common cause of ED.  There are three types of erections: reflexive (due to stimulation), psychogenic (due to visual or mental associations) and nocturnal (hormonal during sleep). A disruption to any of these can cause issues. 

Stop smoking– A study at the University of Kentucky, found that when asked to rate their sex lives on a scale of 1 to 10, men who smoked averaged about a 5, while nonsmokers rated theirs a 9. Smoking also leads to restricted blood flow and depletion of NO which makes it harder to maintain erections over time. 

Next steps in getting a great erection 

Lifestyle factors all in check and looking for ways to optimize further? There are more options now than ever to maximize erections without invasive procedures like implants or injections. Start with these noninvasive options.

Optimize Nitric Oxide. Nitric Oxide (NO) is the chemical that penile nerves release in order to dilate the arteries which in turn increases blood flow to the penis. Simply put, no nitric oxide no erection. The key to getting and maintaining erections revolves around continuous activation of nitric oxide. Starting in your 30’s nitric oxide production begins to decline by 20% every 10 years. Most men over the age of 65 have lost 85% of their ability to make nitric oxide. We often think of erectile dysfunction as an older man’s issue when in fact it can begin effecting men in their 30’s. Factors influencing the decline in natural production of nitric oxide include aging, oxidative stress, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, diabetes and smoking. 

PDE5 Inhibitors are medications like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. These medications work by blocking the body from metabolizing nitric oxide. A reduction in nitric oxide will reduce arterial dilation which in turn reduces blood flow to the penis this is why many men have no problem getting an erection but have trouble maintaining one. Picture this, PDE5 inhibitors act as the offensive line and nitric oxide is the quarterback. If nitric oxide gets sacked, you don’t!  

Shock Wave Therapy is a non-invasive procedure that improves the health of the blood vessels. Healthier blood vessels increase blood flow into the penis which improves erectile function. This is a painless, in-office procedure, that creates “micro-trauma” or inflammation in the blood vessels of the penis. Your body responds by bringing growth factors to the area helping to rebuild and create new pathways for increased blood flow.


Erectile dysfunction does not discriminate against age and the earlier interventions are implemented the better. Not dealing with ED yet? Now is your chance to be proactive instead of reactive. All of the above-mentioned therapies can be implemented before erectile dysfunction becomes an issue.  For more information or to discuss what options are best for you, contact Victory Men’s Health Medical providers who specialize in Sexual Health.


Cleveland Clinic Med ED


Strategies to promote better sleep

Think to yourself…when was the last time you got a great night of sleep? From working 40+ hours a week to raising children to navigating life through a pandemic, most of us are struggling in the sleep department. Have you recently heard a friend or a colleague brag about how well rested they are??  That answer is probably no. There are dozens of reasons as to why we’re not getting what we need and a lot are out of our control. On the nights your toddler or your dog aren’t crawling into your bed keeping you awake, do you have the proper sleep hygiene practices to ensure a good night’s rest? 

Blue Light

To say daily exposure to screen time has increased dramatically over the years is an understatement. Technology advancements have helped streamline and advance our daily lives but not without cost. Artificial blue light from the screens can affect sleep by throwing off our natural circadian rhythm because it suppresses melatonin, a hormone that influences our biological clock for sleep.  Blue wavelengths (Blue Light) are actually beneficial and necessary for boosting attention, reaction times and mood during the day but are disruptive at night, especially after the sun sets. There are studies suggesting that blue light has other harmful side effects aside from sleep. A Harvard study sheds a little bit of light on the possible connection to diabetes and possibly obesity. The researchers put 10 people on a schedule that gradually shifted the timing of their circadian rhythms. Their blood sugar levels increased, throwing them into a prediabetic state, and levels of leptin, a hormone that leaves people feeling full after a meal, went down. 

How to protect yourself from blue light at night:

  • Use dim red lights for night lights. Red is less likely to alter circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin
  • Avoid bright screens 2-3 hours before bed
  • If you work at night with electronic devices, consider blue blocking glasses or downloading apps that filter blue/green wavelength at night
  • Expose yourself to as much bright light during the day as you can to boost your ability to sleep at night and improve your mood/alertness during daylight

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition marked by abnormal breathing during sleep and is believed to affect 2-9% of adults in the US. The most common form of sleep apnea, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the airway at the back of the throat becomes physically blocked leading to temporary lapses of breath or multiple extended pauses in breath when they sleep.  This causes lower-quality sleep resulting in fatigue, restless sleep/insomnia, decreased libido and erectile dysfunction. OSA affects the body’s supply of oxygen, leading to more serious health consequences and frequently goes undiagnosed due to the person not being aware they have it as they are asleep for their symptoms.  Often times, the partner of the person with symptoms will notice they stop breathing in their sleep followed by a noisy breath and gasps for air or loud snores. If you think you may have this condition, the best option would be to get a sleep study done for a diagnosis. 

Treatment aims to normalize breathing during sleep and address any underlying health problems; often weight loss is recommended. The options will depend on the cause and severity of symptoms and lifestyle modifications are critical steps to normalizing the problem.


It’s been proven that overconsumption of alcohol is detrimental to our health overtime, but a common misconception is it helps with sleep. More people use alcohol than any other sleep aid in the world due to the initial sedating effects helps the onset of getting to sleep. However, over the course of the night, alcohol is metabolized and stimulant effects kick in which often leads to sleep disruptions in the later part of a night’s sleep. Studies have shown that alcohol consumption increases both alpha and delta brain waves simultaneously. Alpha waves are present in a waking brain and delta waves are present during deep, slow-wave sleep. The push-pull between both states may result in disrupted sleep and over time by pre-sleep alcohol can have significant detrimental effects on daytime wellbeing and neurocognitive function such as learning and memory processes. Alcohol consumption before sleep also increases risk for obstructed sleep apnea by 25% for people who consume moderate or higher amounts of alcohol compared to people who consume lower or none at all. 

The take home message here is that alcohol is not actually a particularly good sleep aid even though it may seem like it helps you get to sleep more quickly. The fact is the quality of sleep you get is significantly altered and disrupted. Depending on your size, did you know that it takes about 1 hour to digest an alcoholic beverage? Stopping alcohol intake 3 hours prior to bedtime is essential to ensuring it doesn’t disrupt your night’s sleep.


Caffeine is a huge sleep offender. People don’t realize it, but the half-life of caffeine is between 6 and 8 hours. If you have a cup of coffee at 4PM in the afternoon, half of that coffee is still on board at 11PM that night! You may think that you can handle the stimulant and that it doesn’t have an effect on your sleep when the truth is that the quality is directly affected. Similar to alcohol, caffeine prohibits your ability to get into sleep stages 3 and 4. These stages are essential to overall recovery and is when physical restoration happens (aka our “beauty sleep”). Caffeine is a stimulant and there’s no other way around it. Being cognizant of your intake and stopping by 2PM to avoid disruption is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Odds are against us when it comes to sleep and controlling what you can is imperative to overall health. Improving sleep hygiene has little cost and virtually no risk, so why not make it a priority to fix? Take a step back and evaluate your daily lifestyle to put yourself in the best position to sleep well every night. 


Sleep apnea

MSD Manuals; Pulmonary disorders