Sleep:Uncovered - How Heidi Lender Handled Her "Sleep Demons" and Started To Recall Her Dreams

A new series penned by "Dream Sherpa" Stephanie Gailing that explores our relationship to sleep and dreams.
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Photo courtesy of Heidi Lender

Photo courtesy of Heidi Lender

Today we introduce a new series by frequent contributor, Stephanie Gailing - Life Guide, Wellness Astrologer and Author of  "The Complete Book of Dreams". Each month Stephanie will be speaking with women in various stages of life, who exist in various locations, work in various professions and have various rituals when it comes to their sleep habits. The goal: to "uncover" our relationship to those essential healing, sometimes elusive, hours and to illuminate how different women prepare their minds and bodies for rest. 

Sleep, Uncovered has been a dream of mine for many years and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be launching it on The Fold, a community space that inspires, informs, and elevates women.

And I couldn't be more thrilled that its first installment features Heidi Lender. An American-born photographer, Heidi has resided in Pueblo Garzon, Uruguay, since 2010. It is here that she created CAMPO, a creative institute that hosts artist residences, an annual art festival, and creative think tanks. Through her commitment to capturing and understanding the many layers of beauty, and its role in forging consciousness and community, Heidi inspires so many. For this reason—I’m so happy to launch this series with her profile. 

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What’s your relationship with sleep? (for example, love it, struggle with it, wish you could get more of it, etc.)

Love/hate. At this very moment, I happen to be in a love relationship, falling asleep easily, sleeping mostly through the night and suddenly dreaming (or remembering). But at times (many times), I wake up regularly, struggle with insomnia, monkey mind can’t turn off, my demons can arise frightfully in the dead of night.

Do you readily remember your dreams?

I never did. Yet now I am, which is why this sudden deep dreaming—and remembering—is so exciting.

Please share a significant dream and the impact/influence it had upon you.

Even though in the past I rarely remembered my dream, I have had some recurring ones that I do recall. In these, I am either skiing and desperately trying to find my partner or group of friends or I am racing to find my yoga clothes, late to a class with no mat space left for me. Both have the same qualities - frantic, panicked, on my own looking to be a part of something or with someone.

How have you designed/arranged your bedroom to make it the most cozy and relaxing?

My bedroom is like a cozy inspiring house within my house. Meaning, I could spend all day in it, popping out once or twice to make a cup of chai. I put in huge glass paned window/doors on one wall and my bed on the opposite, so that I am looking out to 80 acres and the dreamiest sunrises in the world and am always connected to nature. Linen curtains allow the daylight to diffuse in. As a photographer, and light-lover, this I most appreciate. And depending on the quality of first light, it can be the thing that jolts me out of bed no matter how early.

Photo courtesy of Heidi Lender

Photo courtesy of Heidi Lender

What's on your nightstand?

Four Moleskin journals from the beginning of the decade. A book of fiction. iPad.

What do you do if your sleep is disturbed in the middle of the night? How do you relax and fall back to sleep? 


As an amazing non-sleeper over the years, I have a lot of little techniques - repeating mantras, counting meditation, watching something on the iPad. But the tried and true, and sometimes I’m just too exhausted to do it, even though it works, is reading. Reading never fails to calm my mind even if it takes an hour chunk out of the night.

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