A recent scientific study published in the journal Neuroscience has linked insomnia to the risk of increased heart attacks and strokes.

People with insomnia or intermittent sleep may be more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people who don't have any sleep problems, the study said.

The 10-year study involved about 487,000 people at the age of 51 on average, and none had a history of heart disease or stroke at the start of the study.

According to the study, published about 10 years after the follow-up of 487,200 people, there were 13,0032 cases of stroke, heart attack and other similar diseases among study members.

In general, people who experienced three symptoms of insomnia (difficulty sleeping, intermittent sleep, waking up too early in the morning, and difficulty concentrating during the day due to lack of sleep) were 18 percent more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, the researchers said. Compared with those who do not have any of these problems.

"These findings suggest that if we can help people who have difficulty sleeping through behavioral therapies, it is possible to reduce the number of strokes, heart attacks and other diseases," said Li Mingli, the study team leader and researcher at Beijing University.

The study found that about 11 percent of the participants had difficulty sleeping or had intermittent sleep, 10 percent woke up too early and 2 percent had difficulty concentrating during the day due to lack of sleep.

Compared with participants who did not experience symptoms of insomnia, the majority of those who experienced sleep problems were older, female, unmarried and living in rural areas.

People with symptoms of insomnia were less educated and more likely to have diabetes and mood disorders such as anxiety or depression.