According to a study by Mattress Advisor, Taco Bell is by far the favorite late-night dining spot for people who down three quarts of Colt .45 malt liquor and have a powerful hankering for getting something on their stomachs that may not stay there.

Perhaps it is not be as specific as I put it, but the study does show that people who are intoxicated prefer casual Mexican dining in the evening hours.

First, I will answer some questions readers might have at this point, such as what the heck is Mattress Advisor and how do they know so much about what drunk people eat late at night.

Mattress Advisor’s website provides “comprehensive, unbiased reviews to help you find the best mattress and bedding accessories for your personal needs.”

Presumably, they can answer such questions as “I saw a stained mattress outside a motel downtown cordoned off with crime scene tape this morning. Should I go back, tie it to the top of the car with bungee cords and take it home for my personal needs?” (The answer is no.)

As to how they know about America’s late-night appetites, they explain it this way in Sleep Tips: “…we surveyed over 1,000 people on their after-hours snacking tendencies. We asked them about their favorite late night food stops, how far they’d be willing to drive to get the meal they wanted, and whether or not these decedent indulgences were worth the effort in the end.”

The overall winner was Taco Bell, with 28.5 percent of all respondents opting for the Tex-Mex treats. McDonald’s was a not-too-distant second at 26.2 percent. From there, the fall off was more dramatic with Wendy’s third (7.8 percent), Jack in the Box fourth (5.7 percent) and Denny’s fifth (5 percent).

The social scientists at Mattress Advisor dug even deeper, asking respondents the reasons for patronizing the establishments late in the evening.

The top answers were:

“I’m intoxicated.” (Taco Bell, 35.2 percent).

“I can’t sleep.” (McDonald’s, 52.3 percent).

“I’m addicted to fast food. (Taco Bell, 34.6 percent).

“I’m feeling down/sad.” (Taco Bell, 41.4 percent)

“I drank a bunch of brewskis at the fraternity kegger with Squi, Bernie and P.J. and I can’t find the keys to the Beemer so we’re just going to call in a bunch of pizzas on my dad’s credit card. Go Yale!” (OK, I made that one up. Please don’t blame the good folks at Mattress Advisor for yet another now outdated Supreme Court joke).

And just how far would someone drive for a late-night craving? KFC ranked ninth overall in after-hours munchies, but the franchise has devoted fans who are willing to drive up to 24 minutes on average – the longest time/distance -- for a taste of the colonel’s 11 secret herbs and spices. Denny’s aficionados were willing to drive, peddle, Uber, walk or crawl up to 21minutes to stop that rumbly in the tummy.

Mattress Advisor, true to its name, offered some final advice on late-night eating and the potential downside.

“At the end of the day, what you decide to munch on in the wee hours of the morning or very late at night doesn’t just affect your wallet or how you’ll feel the next day – it can have a profound effect on the quality of sleep you’ll get.”

So, here is what we have learned: If you down three quarts of Colt .45 malt liquor and have a powerful hankering for getting something on your stomach that may not stay there, Taco Bell is top choice. Just don’t stop on the way and pick up a stained mattress outside the motel downtown cordoned off with crime scene tape.

Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, NC and a humor columnist. Contact him at rhollifield@mcdowellnews.com.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily newsletter.