Abstract : We introduce a method for systematically reducing the dimension of biophysically realistic neuron models with stochastic ion channels exploiting time-scales separation. Based on a combination of singular perturbation methods for kinetic Markov schemes with some recent mathematical developments of the averaging method, the techniques are general and applicable to a large class of models. As an example, we derive and analyze reductions of different stochastic versions of the Hodgkin Huxley (HH) model, leading to distinct reduced models. The bifurcation analysis of one of the reduced models with the number of channels as a parameter provides new insights into some features of noisy discharge patterns, such as the bimodality of interspike intervals distribution. Our analysis of the stochastic HH model shows that, besides being a method to reduce the number of variables of neuronal models, our reduction scheme is a powerful method for gaining understanding on the impact of fluctuations due to finite size effects on the dynamics of slow fast systems. Our analysis of the reduced model reveals that decreasing the number of sodium channels in the HH model leads to a transition in the dynamics reminiscent of the Hopf bifurcation and that this transition accounts for changes in characteristics of the spike train generated by the model. Finally, we also examine the impact of these results on neuronal coding, notably, reliability of discharge times and spike latency, showing that reducing the number of channels can enhance discharge time reliability in response to weak inputs and that this phenomenon can be accounted for through the analysis of the reduced model.