For the estimated 36 million Americans with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic condition in which the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus, sleepless nights and workplace distractions can be a regular occurrence, a new survey says.

This survey shows that for the many people with GERD who experience symptoms at night, the daytime impact can be enormous, said Ryan Madanick, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

91% of the survey respondents reported that GERD disrupted their sleep at some point. For nearly half (44%), this happened at least once per week. After a poor nights sleep, more than half (53%) of sufferers reported having to take a nap the next day, 39% experienced more GERD symptoms because they were tired, and 22% were unable to concentrate at work.

For some people with GERD, simple changes to their eating habits such as eating smaller and more frequent meals, not eating late at night, and avoiding certain foods can help alleviate symptoms. A proton pump inhibitor (PPI) can also provide healing benefits and control damage to the lining of the esophagus.