Start Your Day Right: 60-Minute Morning Routine of Sheets & Giggles' CEO
The Physical and Mental Health Benefits of a Consistent Morning Routine
Hey everyone! Colin here, Founder/CEO of Sheets & Giggles. Since 2017, I've built a company from scratch that now has 100,000+ customers and 200,000+ units shipped. I've participated in Techstars Boulder, have raised millions of dollars for my idea, have been invited to DC to lobby Congress on small business issues, and even found myself interviewed on shows like Good Morning America!
Meanwhile, the ups and downs of the business have both helped and hindered my physical, mental, and emotional health. Since I founded the company, I've gained 30 pounds, and lost it all; I've nearly healed my herniated C4/C5 (without surgery); I've found my life partner; and I've discovered a lot of inner peace and satisfaction with my life in my 30s that eluded me in my 20s.
26 vs 32 (2016 vs 2022)
Today, I'd like to share something simple but impactful with you: my personal morning routine! For my entire 20s, I used to be rather listless in the mornings: I'd often wake up and immediately hop on my phone, "put out fires," skip breakfast, and chug caffeine. It felt chaotic, but I didn't really know how to improve my mornings, or why any changes would be beneficial.
Finally, during the pandemic I decided to make a change, which I deemed necessary for my own sanity (and rapidly deteriorating physical health). I decided I'd change one thing... I chose something for my back pain (the most pressing issue at the time) – a pull-up bar that I would hang on for 60 seconds every day as soon as I woke up. It was easy, simple, and felt good, and I noticed over a few weeks that I began... looking forward to the morning (gross). It actually shocked me: I was always a night owl, never an early bird! I realized that by having something to look forward to first thing, I went to bed earlier, slept more soundly, and stopped dreading the day ahead.
Since this all took shape in 2020, I've found that a rigid and ritualistic daily routine sets me up for professional success each day, and also sets a foundation for my ongoing physical and mental health journey.
Total time: 1 - 60 minutes depending on what you want to adopt. Let's break it down step by step:
Drink Water and Look at Sunlight First Thing in the Morning (5 minutes)
I drink 32 oz of water immediately when I wake up: Hydration is crucial for overall health. By drinking water first thing in the morning, I jumpstart my metabolism, flush out toxins, and kick off my day feeling refreshed and energized. And when I say "first thing," I mean it – I roll to my right and start downing the 32oz glass by my bedside.
Look at sunlight: get at least a few minutes of sunlight to your eyes' photon receptors – open a window, take your dog out, whatever. 13-14 hours after you do this, your body will release melatonin to make you tired. (Legal note: don't look directly at the sun.)
Make the Bed Everyday (1 minute)
I make my bed before I leave the bedroom: This simple task provides a sense of accomplishment and order. It also helps me mentally transition from sleep to the tasks ahead, promoting a more focused and productive day.
Digital Detox + Write in my Journal (5 - 10 minutes)
Wash my face and apply coconut oil: I hear that this is important for not fading into dust by 40.
Write daily gratitudes and to-do list: This helps me focus on what's important in life, and what's important on the day ahead.
No interaction with electronic devices until the routine is complete: For about 60 minutes every morning, I don't look at a screen, listen to music or podcasts, or any other voices besides my internal monologue / my fiancée's lovely voice (she's not reading over my shoulder as I write this, I swear). This daily digital detox allows me to focus on self-care without distractions. It allows me to maintain a clear head and manage stress more effectively, and I'm more "in the zone" when writing my daily to-do's and gratitudes down.
Physical Activation in the Morning (20 minutes)
Hanging from a pull-up bar for 60 seconds: This activity decompresses my spine, promotes better posture, and helps maintain shoulder mobility. It's a great way to alleviate any stiffness accumulated overnight.
Hanging again from a pull-up bar for 60 seconds, with legs at a 45-degree angle: Adding an isometric core hold further strengthens my core muscles, improves balance, and supports a strong foundation as I get older.
Foam rolling for 60 seconds: This self-myofascial release technique helps to relieve muscle tightness, reduce inflammation, and improve flexibility. It's also a quick and effective way to stretch your vertebrae after lying in bed for 6+ hours, and you can also give your lats some extra love. Pro tip: don't foam roll below your rib cage to avoid damaging your lower vertebrae (no protection from your rib cage).
Stretching every muscle group in my body for 45 seconds each: Stretching increases blood flow, improves flexibility, helps with recovery, and reduces the risk of injury. Opening up your chest is important for people hunched at a computer all day, and I have a specialized stretch to keep my sciatica at bay. Daily stretching pays dividends as the years go by.
Simple but Comprehensive Morning Nutrition (20 minutes)
Protein-rich breakfast: Consuming protein in the morning aids muscle recovery from the previous day's workout and promotes a feeling of fullness. This helps me maintain consistent energy levels and focus throughout the day. A common breakfast is eggs with cheese, some fruit, and a supplemental shake (I use Juice Plus+® shakes).
Supplements: My supplement regimen includes Juice Plus+®, creatine, vitamin D, zinc, ginger, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Folate, L-Arginine, and Maca Root. These supplements help support immune function, promote muscle growth and healing, and provide an energy boost. I avoid caffeine for at least two hours after waking to avoid interfering with my adenosine receptors.
Finally, the Day Begins (10 minutes)
Feed and walk my dog: Harvey also exists and enjoys being treated as such. (Sometimes I do this before everything else, depending on if he pops out of bed or sleeps in.)
Brush my teeth and check my email: As someone with anadontia (missing teeth), oral hygiene is something I obsess over. I check my email while I water pick and brush my teeth, which signals to my brain that the work day is starting.
By dedicating time each morning to my physical and mental well-being, I set myself up for a productive and fulfilling day (though like everyone, some days I just sit on the couch and stare at my phone – it happens). I think everyone can benefit from incorporating at least some of these practices into your own morning routine – especially people who also suffer from chronic back pain!
(Also, maybe call your mom in the morning – she'd like to hear from you more often.)
Sweet dreams and happy mornings,
Founder / CEO of S&G