In just under three weeks we’ll be waking up with a new crop of MPs. If you’re sick of the election already then spare a thought for the politicians themselves.

Election fever is a serious illness. Contesting an election can take its toll on the health of prospective MPs.

This at least was the finding of a report by private medical firm Nuffield Health. It found that lack of sleep, high levels of stress and poor diet can all gang up on candidates in the run-up to an election.

Two-thirds of them don’t get time to eat properly, a quarter skip meals and a quarter confess to eating junk food every day.

One in six of them survive on less than five hours’ sleep. Then we need to factor in aggressive dogs. One in four said they’d been chased or bitten by a dog while out campaigning.

Stephen Blease That’s all before you’re elected. Once you become an MP the stresses and strains can be worse.

Some can find themselves working 70 hours a week. Weekend diaries are crammed with appointments, meetings and appearances and leave little time for family life.

And then there are surgeries with constituents. In her memoirs former minister Clare Short wrote that helping people who came to see her was one of the most rewarding parts of the job – though she added that some people made unrealistic demands of their MP, and those with mental health problems were often drawn to MPs’ surgeries.

Being an MP is thought of as a well-paid job, and with a basic salary of more than £76,000 it is, compared to most of us.

But it’s worth bearing in mind that others in the public sector such as council chief executives, senior civil servants, army colonels and many headteachers get more, and police chief superintendents earn as much, if not more.

Job security is not great. You risk losing your job at every general election. It’s one of the few walks of life where even the best person for the job can get the sack.

And the complexity of some of the issues they have to deal with is enough to give you a headache.

Take Brexit. Every time it’s mentioned on Question Time someone will shout: “Let’s get on with it, let’s leave the EU tomorrow!” And they’ll be guaranteed enthusiastic applause.

MPs have to point out that it’s not that simple, that there are laws to repeal, treaties to cancel, new ones to negotiate and arrangements over trade, travel, policing and a host of other topics to agree.

And there’s agriculture. Last year Britain’s farmers received almost £2.4bn from the EU – more than half the total farming income. Virtually all Cumbria’s upland farmers rely on EU subsidies to survive.

So farmers need to know what’s going to replace this money before we can leave – and politicians will have to work it out.

Since the satire boom of the 1960s, the deference that used to be shown to MPs has been swept away, and that’s a good thing.

But sometimes we’re a bit unfair. William Hague was laughed at for wearing a baseball cap to the Notting Hill Carnival. But it was August and the guy’s bald – he needed some sun protection. He would have come in for more derision if he’s sported a knotted handkerchief.

Ed Miliband was also given an unfairly hard time. How easy is it to eat a bacon sandwich elegantly?

Most people have little sympathy for MPs and tell them: “Lots of people want your job.”

I can’t say I fancy it.