The name

Circadia is derived from circadian rhythms as we wanted to help people adjust to better internal body clock times.


We started out with this Quora article link about becoming a morning person. Richard Muller suggested to switch the time zone to Eastern Time Zone. By pushing the time earlier by 3 hours, you are tricking you brain that you're sleeping at 12am but in reality, you are sleeping at 9pm. Similarly, you can trick yourself into waking up at 6am PST by living in 9am EST. Starting with this inspiration of hacking circadian rhythms, we wanted to create an app that would help integrate this process: shifting the native time, helping you schedule events when you are on a different time zone. We encountered many challenges, including skepticism from most people and reality sinking in that potential consequences (such as confusion) would overpower the actual benefits. We went back to the root cause through the 5 Why process and determined that we wanted to establish healthier sleeping habits for people, therefore we created a smart alarm clock that would jumpstart your morning routines.

Brainstorming with the issue

The overall problem: people are having trouble adjusting to healthy sleep schedules for school or work.

Factors contributing to the issue Many of our peers struggle to fall asleep before 1am or 12pm since psychologically, they're wired to not want to fall asleep earlier. Even when people claim to change their sleeping habits, people are not disciplined to actually form these new habits. Even though we mentally claim that we will sleep at 9pm that night, it does not always work out. Lastly, most people don't look forward to waking up as it means doing something routinized such as school or work.

What it does

Our app aims to help people build better sleeping habits by purposefully pushing earlier wake up times, simulating the mind with a brain teaser and ending with a positive message to jumpstart the user's day.

The night before, the user sets a default wake-up time (eg 7am) and one positive thing they are looking forward to the next day (could be event/goal). On the morning of, the app will wake up the user a few minutes before said time without notifying the user of the correct time. This incremental difference will be increased with each successful wake-up user completes. The goal is to help user gradually acclimate to an earlier wake-up time, hence pushing forward their sleep time as they (theoretically) wake up earlier. After the user completes the morning challenges (by this time the app can assume that the user is awake and will not snooze - although maybe the challenges should be slightly harder? so that this assumption is valid), then only do you show the correct time and keep track of the user's progress in shifting their wake-up time backwards. That way, the user can keep track of their accomplishments, but only after they have already committed to waking up. This is similar to the parental tactic of waking a child up earlier while claiming it's a later time. The snooze will not turn off until the user completes a simple brain teaser that would stimulate the brain cells. This would prevent the user from snoozing and wanting to going back to sleep. After completing the challenge, the user would be reminded of the positive item they inputted the night before.

How we built it

We started with initial brainstorming by surfing the web, identifying problems in our daily life. We both suffer from bad sleeping schedules and struggle with being disciplined enough to sleep healthily. Therefore, we chose this issue.

We pitched the idea and developed the original time-zone converter app to the current alarm clock app. We worked on prototyping on paper. Afterwards, Elaine was in charge on the back-end development, using android studio and Shuge did the front-end UI design.

Challenges we ran into

Both of us did not have any coding experience walking into this. Android studio was a struggle, the smallest bug would crash everything. The time would not work. The links would not follow. It was difficult to learn how to code in 24 hours. Our app code is dysfunctional, but we did everything from scratch. Uploading to github in 20minutes was extremely challenging. At times, we were so clueless, we had no idea where to go. We stack overflowed everything.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

That we were able to substantiate this project. The code is done mostly from scratch. We were able to get the vision there! It

What we learned

To learn how to code at the next hackathon.

What's next for Circadia

Ask for more feedback and let's make it a reality.

Check out the links below, we have attached the github report, the pitch and our marvel prototype.

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