Nearly 50 million Americans experience nighttime heartburn at least once a week, negatively affecting sleep and impacting work performance, according to a recent survey of 1,000 heartburn sufferers by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). Heartburn is a condition that occurs when stomach acids rise into the esophagus and produce a pain in the chest, know as reflux. The symptoms for nighttime heartburn are identical to daytime heartburn, with the exception of keeping sufferers from either falling asleep or staying asleep.

In the survey, 65 percent of respondents reported experiencing both daytime and nighttime heartburn, with 40 percent admitting that their inability to sleep due to nighttime heartburn affected their work performance. While 70 percent of respondents reported taking medication to control their nighttime heartburn, 45 percent noted that their medication didn’t relieve all of their nighttime symptoms.

The AGA suggests nighttime heartburn sufferers to make changes in their diet to reduce symptoms, rather than to solely depend on antacids. Dietary changes include avoiding high-fat meals, limiting consumption of alcohol, chocolate and cigarettes, decreasing meal portions, losing weight if overweight and allowing at least two to three hours between eating and going to bed.

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