I was asked the above question on the new forums at UbermanSchedule.com, where I’d dropped in last week to say hi. It looks like a good forum, nice simple design and so far, quite a decent crowd. Check it out if you’re interested in forum-like information on polyphasic sleep, by all means.
The short answer to the question, by the way, is:
1. Adapting to Uberman, if you keep your nap times and lengths *perfect* or damn close to perfect, will utterly zombify you, but only for 2-3 days. You’ll be tired for 2 days, a zombie for 2-3, and then start coming back to normal (and, if you believe all us testimonials, go *past* normal to having some extra energy and concentration). I did it while in work/school, and probably didn’t perform very well for that first week, but made up for it later in spades. ;)
2. Adapting to Uberman, if you screw up, even by 10-15 minutes a day, will do to you what only Voudou bokor are supposed to be able to: Make you a near-constant zombie. After living as a zombie for ten days while trying to adapt to Uberman around a hectic work/kid/school schedule, I can say with authority that this state is NO FUN. (Performance? What’s that??) And because of this, I never recommend that anybody even attempt Uberman who doesn’t have the right lifestyle to be able to take naps *on time* 24/7.
3. Adapting to Everyman is much easier; it makes one tired at night, and steps need to be taken to keep busy and fight off the urge to snoz, but it’s no more than a test of willpower IMO — nothing like Zombification, wherein any illusion that you had willpower has been fried and eaten in front of you. With Uberman, you can get so tired that staying awake is literally almost physically impossible, and doing things like jumping up and down for an hour or two are sometimes necessary to stay conscious. With Everyman, it’s more like pulling an unpleasant all-nighter or two at work, and then after a few days you stop being tired.
4. Sadly, I don’t have information yet on transitioning from Everyman to Uberman. To be honest, I have yet to speak to anyone who’s successfully done it. If you have, feel free to speak up!
…And if you want the long version, here is my original response to the group, after the cut. Have a nice Monday, everybody…-PD
Adapting to Uberman, both times, I was a ZOMBIE. Like, I didn’t *crave* brains, but if someone had suggested that they sounded tasty, things might have gotten ugly. My own brain was somewhere on a lesser moon of Jupiter I think, having a nice vacation. Z-o-m-b-i-e.
Now, when I was able to keep those naps 100% on-time, I got out of zombie-mode in just a couple days. It was about 2 days tired, 3 days zombie, and then back to normal within the next 2 days or so. Really not so bad; I was in school/work while I did it and while both were forgiving, I didn’t screw up too badly. The second time, when I was trying to prove whether people with non-ideal lifestyles (i.e. ones that might screw with naps) could adapt to Uberman — and found out they can’t, nuh-uh, no way — then I was a zombie for 10 days straight before I realized that it wasn’t going to go away, and gave up. Having to shift naps, even by 10-15 minutes, during the adaptation phase of Uberman will kill ya. (And leave you Undead.) My work performance definitely suffered a bit, and I was genuinely scared to drive at times. (“The Scoot”, an adaptation trick for driving that I learned from the venerable Heidi, probably saved my life more than once.) …Which is why I recommend Uberman only to people who really think they can keep the schedule!
Adapting to Everyman is definitely easier, though I don’t have a good “from scratch” experience on that one — the first time I adapted to it, I was coming off my 10-day-zombification (after all that work I wasn’t going to just give up, so I decided to test-drive Everyman instead of returning to monophase). Of course, I started to feel better immediately, and after what I’d been through for the last 2 weeks, adapting to Everyman was a breeze. I did fall off my Everyman schedule twice — once just for two days, over a business trip / vacation, and then it was hard to wake up after my core for a few days, but I wasn’t tired or unproductive during the day at all while readapting. And the second time was recently — I’m still getting over a nearly 3-week bout of illness (just a bad cold, but gah, it’s been nasty) and still working my way back to what’s been my “normal” schedule for the last five months — a three-hour core and three naps. Since I was knocked out of whack longer, it’s been a little harder to readjust, but still not that bad. Again, I’m finding that other than some tiredness after my evening nap and my core (and needing to really set alarms again, like, more than one, and loudly — I’d gotten used to just having one quiet one be enough), it’s pretty easy. You’re usually most alert during the day anyway, and you’re getting a nap every couple hours to keep you going, so even though you’re sleep-deprived, it’s nothing like the Zombification Ritual required to adjust to Uberman.
(That said, just to reiterate, I would go back to Uberman in a heartbeat if I could. What I’ve realized about the two from my experiments this last year is that a) Uberman works fantastically, but requires really strict adherence to nap-times, and b) Everyman cuts your sleep requirements but doesn’t have as cool an effect as Uberman does, but because of the core-nap, you can go longer between naps and have more flexibility about when you take them. So for those of us with jobs and kids, Everyman seems to be the way to go. In the next few months I hope to test out a 90-minute-core version and see how that pans out as well.)